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Spring Conference 2018: Benchmarking for Innovation Performance amid Industry Convergence

May 22, 2018

Tuesday, May 22 | 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM EDT
Wharton San Francisco

Wharton San Francisco

Incumbents today are finding themselves fighting for survival in nearly every conceivable strategic arena. Advancing technologies have blurred industry boundaries and facilitated moves into previously unrealized business spaces. In response, some firms are moving into industries outside of their core competencies to leverage resources, flex their muscles, and create new identities. These shifts have left many incumbents facing threats from not only startups, but other titans who have made strategic plays across verticals.

How can incumbents stay ahead in this game? How can they build or augment competencies to combat these threats? How do they keep clear sights on the pace of innovation in and around their core business, even as many industries are experiencing tech-enabled convergence?

During this conference, the Mack Institute will explore the need for firms to candidly assess their performance, understand appropriate innovation metrics, and apply benchmarking standards to compare themselves against both industry peers and unrealized threats. This interactive event will leave participants with insights, frameworks, and best practices for measuring innovation performance both internally as well as against external competitors.

The conference will be led by experts from academia and industry who will discuss deploying resources, employing relevant skills & competencies, and integrating knowledge for firm growth.


8:30 a.m.–9:00 a.m. — Breakfast

9:00 a.m.–9:15 a.m. — Welcome and Introduction

Saikat Chaudhuri
Executive Director, Mack Institute for Innovation Management
Adjunct Associate Professor of Management, The Wharton School

Harbir Singh
Co-director, Mack Institute for Innovation Management
Vice Dean for Global Initiatives
Mack Professor of Management, The Wharton School

9:15 a.m.–10:30 a.m. — How Incumbents Can Stay Ahead of the Game

Asheesh Birla
Senior Vice President of Product, Ripple

Secil Watson*
EVP, Head of Wholesale Internet Services, Wells Fargo

10:30 a.m.–10:50 a.m. — Break

10:50 a.m.–12:05 p.m. — Building Competencies

Katherine von Jan
Vice President, Strategic Innovation, Salesforce

Darya Pourshasb
Director, Consumer Subscription Strategy, Spotify

12:05 p.m.–1:20 p.m. — Lunch and Networking

1:20 p.m.–2:35 p.m. — Industry Convergence and Benchmarking

Laurent Cordier
Managing Director, News Partnerships, News and Publishing, Google (former)

Amazon Launchpad

2:35 p.m.–3:00 p.m. — Break

3:00 p.m.–4:15 p.m. — Smart Technology Acquisitions

Tereza Nemessanyi
Entrepreneur in Residence, Microsoft

Vanessa Colella*
Chief Innovation Officer, Citi Ventures

4:15 p.m.–4:30 p.m. — Closing Remarks

Harbir Singh

Saikat Chaudhuri



  • Date: Tuesday, May 22
  • Time: 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM EDT

Event Organizers

  • Saikat Chaudhuri
  • Harbir Singh