Late last month, I had this great and fun opportunity to give the keynote at Technori Pitch, a fantastic monthly showcase of innovative starters, showcasing what they have just launched. Probably one of the bigger start up pitch events now in the country, exposing the hand picked start ups to a number of Sr Execs, Entrepreneurs, Press and the broader start up community. The event was covered in this ChicagoTribune Story, here is an extract from there, take a read:
Mayur Gupta, global head of marketing technology and innovation at Kimberly-Clark Corp., said at Tuesday night’s Technori Pitch event that he often would hear the company’s chief marketing officer, Clive Sirkin, say: “We don’t believe in digital marketing; we believe in marketing in a digital world.”
Gupta tied that to an experience at home: He said he and his wife had been using Gilt, an app for designer clothing. And he said a mysterious pair of red polka dot socks showed up on their kitchen table one day.
Gupta said he assumed his wife ordered them. She assumed he did.
It turned out to be their 3-year-old daughter.
“I thanked Gilt that they only sold clothes and shoes and not houses and cars,” Gupta said. “That (experience) taught me what Clive Sirkin meant.”
Gupta shared what he has learned, along with ways to innovate within the corporate ecosystem, with about 250 people at Tuesday’s event.
Technori Pitch is a monthly event in which Chicago startup companies pitch their latest technologies and products in front of entrepreneurs and investors. Tuesday’s event took place at Mesirow Financial because of renovations at Technori’s usual site, Chase Auditorium. The July event took place at TechNexus’ space in the Civic Opera Building. Technori CEO Seth Kravitz said Wednesday that the September event remains on schedule to return to Chase.
Technology is more than just an enabler, Kimberly-Clark’s Gupta said. It inspires creativity. He said it creates new business channels such as the Gilt app used by his young daughter. Technology is now the experience, and drives innovation.
Gupta said he strongly believes we are in a period in which technology is driving everything and that the corporate world must catch up. He offered attendees eight key principles to drive innovation in a corporate ecosystem.
- Don’t kill the butterfly. Killing good ideas can harm your company. Gupta illustrated this point by showing the attendees a YouTube video of a “caveman” focus group. The cavemen criticized fire and walked away thinking it was a terrible innovation.
- Be consumer-obsessed. He said developers too often become obsessed with technology and end up creating things that make no sense. Put the consumer first and ask yourself what problem you’re solving. “It’s very important that the first and the last chapter of your idea starts and ends with the consumer,” Gupta said.
- Be curious. Gupta pointed out that burs of a burdock plant stick to most anything, and all it took was one curious person to take note. The plant was the inspiration behind Velcro.
- Moving forward is less risky. You could choose to be Blockbuster and stand still or adapt like Netflix and become a leader in the industry. “That’s where we are today,” Gupta said. “We’re standing on a pile of cracked ice. If we don’t move forward, you know what’s going to happen.”
- Celebrate failure. Don’t just accept failure. If you do, he said, you’re lowering the bar already. Gupta looks at failure like playing a matching game. Every card you pick that doesn’t match isn’t failure; it’s a step closer to finding that matching card. As long as you learn something by failing, you will win, he said.
- Connect the dots. Gupta said we’re living in a world that makes no sense, just random dots. Creativity and innovation stitch those dots together to create something beautiful, he said.
- Become pi shaped. In today’s business ecosystem, you may have to take on many roles. Your clients want the best product for the best price, he said, and they want it now. Unlike “T-shaped people,” a term popularized in digital marketing referring to employees with one specific expertise, pi-shaped people are both right- and left-brain oriented. To succeed, he said, you’ll need to be analytical, yet able to understand the creative side.
- Keep it simple. Gupta makes sure to first run his presentations by his wife and daughter. He said Albert Einstein put it best: “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”
You can read the full story on ChicagoTribune.