American Innovation Conference focuses on creating change

October 17, 2018. Gabelli School of Business News.

It’s one thing to say your company is innovative.

It’s another for your customers to say your company is consistently able to create change.

At this week’s inaugural American Innovation Conference, students, faculty, alumni, and executives from companies voted as “most innovative” by their customers joined to share ideas on what it means to be ahead of the curve.

Attendees heard from Malcolm Frank, CSO, CMO at Cognizant, who spoke about the advance of machines and its impact on both companies and individual workers. “Artificial intelligence is the great story of our time,” he pronounced. He also predicted that machines and people will work together in the future. “Seventy-five percent of [white-collar] jobs will be enhanced by AI,” he said.

Later in the conference, companies rated highly on the recently-released American Innovation Index were celebrated. And panelists from these organizations spoke about how they approach and view innovation.

Paul Misener, Amazon’s vice president of global innovation shared that Amazon employees are judged on their ability to disconfirm their beliefs. “The goal is to try and make your idea fail. If an experiment can’t fail, it’s not an experiment at all,” he stated.

Two top companies viewed as innovative by its customers were John Deere and Goodyear. Both of these companies cited a commitment to sustainability as a central feature of innovation.

Mark Howze, vice president and chief administrative officer at John Deere noted that the ability to make land more sustainable and productive for his customers are the most critical aspects of business at John Deere. “We try to stay close to customers to help create innovations that will make them more productive, and ultimately help society.”


Top photo: Dr. Lerzan Aksoy with Conference panelists