Nurturing the Ecosystem: Innovation within Corporate Culture

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.

Michelle Eckert is Marketing and Communications Coordinator for the Mack Institute, where she works to engage students, researchers, and corporate partners in opportunities for collaboration. Michelle received her B.A. in Art from Valparaiso University in 2007. Her background includes two AmeriCorps terms of service working to teach mathematics, computer literacy, and job readiness skills to out-of-school youth in Philadelphia, focusing particularly on promoting access to post-secondary education.