Innovation Realized: Highlights, interviews, discussions

The Innovation Realized ’22 summit took place on 26-27 April in Chicago. The summit unlocked some fascinating ideas and insights, from the perceptive to the unexpected. Here are what we think are the top ten highlights:

Innovation Realized '22 top ten takeaways:

  1. The death of globalization is greatly exaggerated. We’re seeing the deepening of regional economic systems in Asia, the EU, and North America. No one region will be predominant; rather, each will lead on their relative strengths.
  2. We are approaching “Peak Humanity” which will happen sooner than initially forecast (because the pandemic sped it up)—with huge long-term implications for the war for talent, immigration, sustainability, retirement/aging, inflation and more.
  3. Post-Covid, every company is in start-up mode. Leadership teams must get in a strategic rhythm of looking for strategic tipping points, scanning for disruptions at the edges and identifying the technologies which can be applied today.
  4. Customer centricity is not new, but more urgent than ever in today’s extreme conditions because it wins. Opportunity lies in the gap between stakeholder expectations and what companies are delivering.
  5. Culture will be the key differentiator in winning the interrelated challenges of transforming, attracting the best talent, innovating, and deploying new technologies at scale.
  6. Achieving demographic diversity is not sufficient and organizations need also think about cognitive diversity. Accessing neurodiversity in all forms, such as the artist community, will help leaders to navigating the extreme ambiguity in the business environment today. Driving cognitive diversity into your organization requires recruiting from talent pools outside your normal operating zones. Once you have cognitive diversity, it’s important to include and leverage all the intelligences in the room.
  7. Success at digital-led business transformation depends on clear goals, a disciplined process, and board-level representation to connect silos. Take a portfolio approach, drawing on a broad internal/external innovation ecosystem—e.g., employees, partners, start-ups, corporate venturing, acquisitions—in addition to what you incubate. Permission for disruptive innovation projects comes from a cadence of small wins, which builds confidence internally.
  8. The metaverse and web 3.0 are at very early stages—akin to the first days of the internet—but the disruptive potential is monumental and clear. Yet why and how disruptions will manifest themselves is uncertain. Now is the time for companies to begin experimenting and learning in the metaverse. If you believe you’re creating value, go all in.
  9. We no longer need quantum computers to achieve quantum computing. The combination of AI, more powerful GPUs and quantum equations is beginning to give us new powers to translate our success in bits into success in atoms—and address some of our greatest challenges.
  10. Regeneration is the next step in sustainability. Companies can scale regenerative solutions while creating value by collaborating to leverage complementary resources, find common ground and go further faster.