Social Business Sandy

BIZTECHBUZZ in the world of social, cognitive, IoT and startups

Tag: innovation

The Lowe’s Difference: My Thoughts From Their Leadership Summit

The Lowe’s Difference:

I had the honor of participating in the Lowe’s Leadership Summit.

It all began a story.  And a packed room of amazing women leaders from throughout the world.

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Here’s what I took away!

  1. Lowe’s Women’s Diversity is Strong. Did you know when they send the note out about the Women’s Leadership meeting, it would fill up in less than one hour?   They expanded the room this year, and added more people from Canada, India, and beyond.   They mean business. They are amazing women!
  2. Leadership matters. Robert Niblock, their CEO, stayed the entire meeting.  He didn’t sneak away for calls or meetings and truly participated.   Women’s leadership at Lowe’s is important to him.   Jennifer Weber, the CHRO, of Lowe’s led the meeting and participated the entire time.   This participation showed me that Lowe’s knows that diversity matters.   It is not just a nice to have.

img_73653.  Inspirational Takeaways from Amy Cuddy, Alison Levine and Kristan Seaford

  • Success isn’t always about going up, sometimes it goes up, down and sideways – embrace and learn – Alison Levine
  • Hope can change lives and business – Never give up – Kristan Seaford

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  • Feedback is free. Growth is optional.   Anna Marie Chavez
  • The Power Pose is backed up with real data. Make the change – Amy Cuddy

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4.   Startups + Enterprise = Innovation and it is alive and well at Lowe’s. Lowe’s Innovation Lab’s is all about disruptive technologies, including shipping a 3D printer to the International Space Station to help astronauts print parts and tools on demand. They also developed the Holoroom, a VR headset to help shoppers visualize bathroom and kitchen improvements. The Woman of Lowe’s have phenomenal ideas that can help innovate Lowe’s into the next generation.

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5.  Have common values and goals. The key to making any relationship work is to have a common vision as the foundation. The entire day was based on the value based structure of Lowe’s.

  1. Be a part of something bigger
  2. Make a difference in somebody’s life every day
  3. Listen intently, sense and respond
  4. Be who we say we are
  5. Give your best always

My Summary

My favorite quote is “Tell me the facts and I’ll believe, but tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever!”.   This Summit for Leadership and Innovation was a set of stories that will live in my heart forever.  From Jennifer’s opening, to Robert – the CEO – stories about each of the values, this conference was a driver to more innovative approaches through diversity of thought.

5 Behaviors That Help Leaders with Innovation

New! IBM Innovation Space inspiring Cloud Innovation in Brazil!

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Introducing the WITI Virtual Hackathon! Sign up now to show off your "entrepreneur" style!

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In 1935, three decades before the Equal Pay Act, IBM recruited its first women in the workforce. IBM’s founder, T.J. Watson Sr. promised women, “the same kind of work for equal pay.” Since then, IBM has been acknowledged as a world leader in its commitment to women both in and out of the workforce. In 2014, IBM was named one of the 諺Best Companies for Women”by Forbes.

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It should come as no surprise that IBM has partnered with WITI (Women In Technology International), a powerhouse dedicated to women in tech, on their first ever Virtual Hackathon. WITI started in 1989 as The International Network of Women in Technology and, in 2001, evolved into The WITI Professional Association, the world’s leading trade association for tech-savvy women. Today, WITI is the premiere global organization empowering women in business and technology to achieve unimagined possibilities.

I personally invite you to join Bluemix, IBM’s premier cloud development platform, and WITI for an international hackathon where developers, scientists, students, and entrepreneurs will gather virtually to build software, applications, hardware, data visualization and platform solutions focused on the Internet of Things and wearables. The hackathon runs throughout the month of May and is open to open to all.  

Follow these easy steps to get started and get hacking!

1.    Register for the hackathon at ibm.biz/witiregistration
2.    Register for your free Bluemix trial at ibm.biz/witihack
3.    Participate in Bluemix virtual education sessions and review technical resources here: ibm.biz/witihackathon
4.    Start building your app and submit it for review by May 27th.

Prizes include IBM Cloud Credit, a 1-hour virtual meeting with me, 2016 WITI Summit tickets, free WITI memberships and more.

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As a board member of WITI and mentor to several women in IBM, I am thrilled to see this type of collaboration and can’t wait to see the apps you come up with!

Amsterdam Opens FIRST Innovation Space for developers and entrepreneurs! IBM, StartupHouse and more!

We are proud to announce our first IBM Innovation Space in the vibrant Amsterdam StartupHouse community!  Full Story

With this announcement,  we are confirming our deep commit to entrepreneurs and developers looking to push disruption and accelerate innovation!!

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With over 600 participants, 3X what expected, B.Amsterdam was completely Sold Out! In collaboration with Startupbootcamp,  and their sister company Innoleaps,  we are offering a unique experience for the Amsterdam ecosystem.

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Today,  15 startups did their 3 minute pitch in front of a crowded amphitheater of investors, corporates and entrepreneurs:

  • SustainerHomes just closed their first deal live here just few minutes before their pitch!!! Things happen at the speed of light
  • Cupenya with their predictive analytics innovative solution impressed the audience!  They shared how IBM Bluemix unleashed them on the market. coming back from CEBIT with a lots of leads this opening certainly  allowed to further accelerate their growth!

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We saw super long lines of enthusiastic developers waiting for Bluemix demos (Twitter handles and Poseidon project).  There was so my energy from the endless possibility of composing App this platform can offer!

Entrepreneurs are driving Innovation in 2015!

CNBC Top 50 Disruptors – Of the Top 20, 25% are Social

top diruptorsI love disruptors.   I love innovation and creative thinking.

So the CNBC Top 50 Disruptors was interesting.   (read the full story here  http://www.cnbc.com/id/100637276

I found it interested that ALL these companies are either based on Cloud, Social, Mobile, or Analytics.   All are based CAMS!

And of the Top 20, 25% are Social Business oriented.

Whose your favorite?  And what’s your biggest AHA on the list?

 

My Interview with EyeQ – One of the 5 most promising companies from Dreamit Ventures.

Recently, I had a chance to sit down and dish with eyeQ’s CEO, Michael Garel.  eyeQ has been recognized for its worldclass Retail app!

Michael, you have been around the country talking about your application running on Bluemix.  Can you tell me what your App does?

eyeQ is the in-store shopping app shoppers don’t have to download  Let me explain: there’s a lot of development and effort  in the market going into building shopping apps that promise to bring some of the online shopping capabilities into they physical store –both for the shopper and the retailer or brand. An in-store shopping app can give shoppers a different experience based on where you have browsed in the physical store.  It can customize offerings based on who you are, and learn about your interests by what you click.  The problem is that – try as they might – retailers are lucky if they can get 5% of their shoppers to download even the most compelling app, and even fewer open it up in the store.  So we think about the store app a different way. We turn the whole store into an app.  Instead of remembering to open an app on their phone, shoppers actually walk into our app when they walk into the store.

We use a combination of three technologies to give shoppers an extremely helpful, personalized shopping experience – like they get from eCommerce – and to give the retailer or brand shopper intelligence, behavior data, and marketing responsiveness that they get from eCommerce, but we do it all in the physical store.  The three technologies are touch screen displays, visual analytics, and location. The touch-screen displays give information to shoppers that they prefer to have before they buy – ratings, reviews, and information about related and recommended products. Our screens give the retailer the click-through patterns that help them create an even better shopping experience.  Think IBM Coremetrics, but in the physical store. The visual analytics helps to instantly customize content to the age, gender, and even mood of the shopper.  Think online-profiles, but derived from physical information.Finally, we determine position and browsing patterns in the various store departments using location sensing. Think of this capability as a physical cookie.

When we combine all these sources of information and engagement we can give shoppers the type of highly personalized shopping experience they are used to online, but with all the instant gratification benefits of shopping in a brick-and-mortar store. And they physical store – where 93% of all retail sales still occur – transforms from a data blind spot into a rich and meaningful source of actionable information for both retailers and brands.

Being a lean startup, some of our challenges are time and resources.  BlueMix assists us in solving these challenges.  Using BlueMix we have been able to re-allocate time spent on server deployment and maintenance to product development.  This allows us to accelerate our time to market and iterate our offering.  Additionally, BlueMix makes it really easy for us to scale our cloud infrastructure as our deployments continue to grow.
2.  Recently you were named one of the top 5 most promising companies from Dreamit Ventures.   Tell us about that.

Dreamit Ventures is a global startup accelerator that takes early stage companies with exceptional leaders from around the world and provides a small amount of capital, mentorship and guidance to help us grow exponentially in a very short amount of time.  When we joined Dreamit, we had been working on eyeQ full time for 8 months – further along than most of our classmates.  Our goal was to leverage the resources available through the accelerator and their network to help build our pipeline and get us ready to raise funding.  Additionally, one of the founders of DreamIt is also a founder of Monetate, who has been very successful in enabling websites to deliver personalized experiences – so it’s been great to work with him with the vision of creating a seamless personalized shopping experience both online and in-store.

Our class had 9 companies – all stellar and all will be very successful.  Our class has companies from as far away as Bangalore, India.  Others are from Spain, Sweden, New York, Boston, DC, Seattle, Houston, Chicago, and Dallas.  We were the only Austin company.  All are companies that will disrupt the markets they are going into. Here’s a list of companies:(http://www.dreamitventures.com/dreamit_classes/austin-14/)

At the end of an accelerator program there is a demo day – where all companies pitch their companies to a room full of investors, influencers, stakeholders, and media.  Tom Cheredar from VentureBeat was covering our demo day and wrote an article highlighting his top 5, and we were very excited that eyeQ was included.
3.  What are some of the critical trends you’d like to leave folks with in Retail?

  1. eCommerce has taken 20 years and a lot of innovation and investment to up to 7% of all retail sales. It did that by creating new ways to be more responsive, engaging, and personalized. New technologies have finally enabled physical stores to emulate those capabilities, and the growth of these technologies will be dramatically faster than online was.  Soon physical stores will begin to re-balance the sales growth by employing theses techniques.
  2. As eCommerce and “pCommerce” develop the same capabilities, there is an opportunity to close the loop on the customer experience – for example, browsing online leading to better recommendations in-store, in-store browsing leading to better recommendations online. People will be able to opt-in to an amazing, continuous shopping experience.
  3. As shopping behavior data from the 93% of sales in-store is married to the 7% from online, the value of the combined data will increase exponentially.

Selfies Explode but ROI comes from sharing value! Let's do "other-ies"

I was thinking this weekend about Selfies after I saw so many taken at SXSW and highlighted in the Oscars.

I looked for some research on how prevalent this trend is becoming.  For example, a recent joint study of self-portraits in social media by three universities in the U.K. found that aggressively posting self-portraits on Facebook can alienate our friends and loved ones.  In another example, the study found that selfies compose a 30% of images snapped by everyone’s favorite demographic — the much-beloved millennial!!

So much focus now on “it’s all about me”. But you get more success when social is used for “value” of all opinions and offering a point of view.  

I think the leaders of social should push for sharing and valuing others.   determining what others need helps to spur on innovation and a focus outside yourself, vs inside your company.

The top ten most innovative companies had two-year compound annual growth rates of 60 percent more than the overall Standard and Poors Global.  For these companies, innovation is much more than a “big idea.” Innovation is an ongoing process of creating value from something new, such as new ideas, new technologies, new products or new processes. For example, 75 percent of successful companies rely on social networks to vet new ideas for success. They use them for:

  • Openly communicating strategy
  • Openly generating and prioritizing non-traditional ideas for new products and services
  • Innovating operations by teaming with external specialists and business partners
  • Innovating business models by combining emerging technologies with business imperatives to redefine the value chain or move into entirely new industries

Your influence matters!!  Encourage others and companies to :

  • “Engage the crowd” (internal and external) to vet new ideas not just sell their own
  • Deploy a portal that combines content, social and advanced mobile features to provide an exceptional digital experience for customers, partners, and employees to make it easy to share ideas
  • Deploy social gamification and social rewards systems to improve engagement and sharing

My Fav Infographic: Social Business Empowers Employees!

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