Thoughts on Innovation, as Learned at the Strategy & Innovation Conference

London, February 21, 2019

My colleague Lucy Davies and I recently attended the Strategy & Innovation conference in London. The event was organized by World Forum Disrupt and draws 250+ attendees with roles in corporate strategy, innovation, transformation, R&D, and more. The presentation topics were mostly focused on various types of innovation – open innovation, integrated innovation, and customer-led innovation, to name a few.

Several presentations stood out, including those from Lizi Jenkins, head of innovation, British Gas; Sandeep Raithatha, head of innovation, BT; and Azita Arvani, head of innovation, partner & venture management, Nokia.

We were particularly interested in the session, “How Coke Approaches Strategy and What this Means for Us,” by Ben Hampson, strategy & performance director, Western Europe, Coca-Cola Company. The audience learned that the company is working on new products that extend into healthy and “more premium” products, such as flavored water and teas. Not only will these new innovations expand the brand, but it also presents the opportunity to sell into health and organic stores, which traditionally shun sodas.

Conference attendees were also able to listen to a panel presentation on “Disruptive vs Architectural Innovation: How Corporates Can Scale and Embed Innovation.” The panel consisted of Nicola Millson, lead, strategy & innovation, Transport Systems Catapult; Colette Mullings, head of new business accelerator, Royal Mail; Hugh Baker, global head of design & innovation, HSBC; Mike Scarano, global digital innovation & connectivity, Puma, and Shona Tatchell, CEO & Founder, Halotrade. During this session the audience learned that financial services firms such as HSBC and Barclays are focused on disruptive innovation. Barclays, in particular, has a focus on Intrapreneurship and creating spin-outs.

Halotrade was one such spin-out from Barclays; the FinTech company has a solution for sustainable, transparent supply chains. The company currently has a pilot project that tracks tea from Malawian farmers to UK-based buyers. The pilot provides the farmers with digital identities, better data about their own land, and quicker access to cash at improved margins.

Gayathri Sudhakaran, director, digital product innovation, LV= addressed the audience on “Digital Transformation: Understanding Your Customers.” Sudhakaran shared insights on the client journey and how LV= is making their client’s journeys more personalized and interactive.

Overall, this conference presented a range of conversations about innovation and how it’s being implemented in diverse industries. This is something we see in our client base – similarities and differences in how to approach both step-change innovation and disruptive innovation. Learn more about our approach to open innovation