What’s Happening at FEI: Front End of Innovation 2018

April 23 – 26, Boston

The yet2 team is looking forward to attending FEI: Front End of Innovation, taking place at the Seaport World Trade Center next week. In addition to being at our conversation station, we’ll be attending as many sessions as we can. Here’s what the team hopes to squeeze in during the conference:

Keynote: Managing Through Volatility: Lessons From the Great Transformer by Jeff Immelt, 9th chairman and recently retired CEO, GE. Immelt believes the task of CEO has never been as difficult as it is today. In the words of the Harvard Business Review, “Immelt utterly remade the organization he inherited.” How did he do it? How do companies create lasting value for their customers? Immelt answers all these questions and more, sharing key takeaways from the initiatives he implemented and inspiring audiences to embrace change so that their organization, like GE, is ready for any future.

Why we’ll be attending: Innovation is often associated with startups, disruptors and new players on the scene. But legacy companies like GE were the original innovators; despite recent troubles, GE is one of those companies that has lasted through decades of innovation.


Corporate + Startup Field Notes Panel featuring Carie Davis, program manager, The BridgeCommunity, founded by Coca-Cola; Heather Turney, culture and innovation manager, Porsche Cars North America; Clara de Soto, co-founder, reply.ai; and Noa Davidson, enterprise architecture, The Coca-Cola Company.

This session will cover commercialization and collaboration from the perspective of the business owner and the startup. Panelists, representing corporations and startups in the BridgeCommunity program, will share specific stories and lessons from their experience working together in the market.

Why we’ll be attending: Our tech scouting practice is different from many other tech scouting companies; we don’t just present innovations and inventions that might solve the problem – we take the process all the way to closing a deal.


Investing in Innovative Food, by Jordan Gaspar, managing partner, AccelFoods and Tyler Noyes, CEO, Kalahari Biltong.

What qualities are investors looking for in early-stage companies? Outside of capital, what are entrepreneurs looking for in an investor? Jordan Gaspar, managing partner of Accel Foods, an investor in disruptive food and beverage companies, will be joined by founders from the fund’s portfolio to share insights on how AccelFoods evaluates partnership opportunities and works with early0stage companies to build solid infrastructure for growth.

Why we’ll be attending: We conduct a significant number of searches for food and beverage companies and like to stay on top of today’s and tomorrow’s innovations. And, We recently attended a session on Trends in Food at the R&D Innovation Summit in Chicago, so food trends is a hot topic for us.


Building Ecosystems of Uncommon Partners by Kyle Nel, former executive director of Lowe’s Innovation Labs, Lowe’s Home Improvement. This session covers how Nel introduced a behavioral transformation approach rooted in narrative and neuroscience that led the Fortune 50 retailer to build partnerships that led to augmented and virtual reality in stores, in-store autonomous robots, the first store in space, and exoskeletons for store employees.

Why we’ll be attending: There are several reasons we’re interested in hearing what Nel has to say. We’re very interested in how innovation can save traditional retail and this relates to some active projects we are working on.


Accelerating Innovation Through University Partnerships by Tracey Dodenhoff, business development consultant, Office of Industry Engagement and Commercial Venturing, Brown University. Dodenhoff will share strategies for engaging with universities to accelerate innovation programs. The presentation will include a surprise corporate collaborator, who will share a case study for successful models of industry/university engagement.

Why we’ll be attending: We work hard to stay up to date on a daily — and global — basis with the promising startups spinning out of university incubators around the world. We feel all tech searches should look globally, not just at the locally, as a matter of best practices.


Keynote: Transforming and Accelerating Innovation at P&G by Kathy Fish, chief research, development and innovation officer, P&G. Innovation has been at the core of P&G’s success model for its 180 year history and continues to drive the company’s growth. P&G has a long history of innovation and is undergoing a significant transformation of its innovation capability, with investments in digital innovation, Connect & Develop, and lean innovation capabilities.

Why we’ll be attending: We have significant experience working with companies that make household and personal goods. This is an area that’s always innovating, always thinking about what the consumer needs and wants, what the consumer does not yet know he or she needs or wants. Plus, we’ve worked with P&G for decades and have contributed to some very nice externally sourced innovation wins for the company.


Keynote: Straight Outta Compost: How Living in a Dumpster for a Year Inspired the Home of the Future by Jeff Wilson, founder & professor dumpster, Kasita. Wilson led a life as an accomplished academic and professor. While under review for tenure, he conducted an experiment to experience the design of small spaces – he chose to sell everything he owned for $1 and moved into a 33 sq. ft. dumpster on the corner of his campus. Wilson will share his experience of living in the dumpster for one year and how it inspired him to quit his secure job, found a startup business, and set out to transform the largest industry in the world.

Why we’ll be attending: Disruptive innovation is a hot topic. But sustainining innovation is vitally important too. We’re always trying to deepen our understanding of how to help large companies best take advantage of both types of innovation.


Keynote: Courage and Discipline: Perspectives on Igniting Innovation and Driving Growth by Dr. Todd Fruchterman, president and general manager, 3M Critical and Chronic Care Solutions Division. Innovation in large companies today is as difficult as it’s ever been. The challenge of maintaining a core business while driving new growth has been well documented, but rarely solved. What does it take to lead a legacy product management to innovative growth engine? Dr. Todd Fruchterman will share his views on igniting innovation by having the courage to set ambitious goals, the perspective to make decisions, and the discipline to stay focused on what’s required to win.

Why we’ll be attending: This is the crux of the innovation challenge that many of our clients face: how to transition from industry stalwart to innovator. We’re interested in hearing the latest about how 3M approaches this conundrum.

Will you be attending the FEI: The Front End of Innovation? Stop by our conversation station and chat with the yet2 team!