A dominant theme emerging from this month’s Spring Conference was how firms can design a corporate culture that’s conducive to innovation. Neil Blecherman (WG’89), Intel Corporation’s Global Director of Business Development for the Internet of Things Group, describes the company’s approach to innovation as quite broad. So broad, in fact, that the mantra “innovation is everything” is posted at the company’s corporate headquarters, visible for everyone passing through to see.
“Innovation at Intel is making sure that when we show up at work we’re thinking about how we can deliver better shareholder value through better practices inside and outside the company.”
According to Blecherman, a key aspect of Intel’s approach to innovation is nurturing the ecosystem which supplies its needs. For example, he states that the company is currently the biggest purchaser of green power in the United States. Other innovations in the supply chain demonstrate advocacy for human rights: Intel recently announced new processes to ensure that the raw materials for its microprocessors, which come from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, are conflict-free. Such practices show awareness that no corporation can remain strong within a vacuum; it requires a healthy environment in which to thrive. The “better practices” to which Blecherman refers, therefore, are a great example of the kind of “outside-in” thinking that can have as much impact within a company as without.