Practical Innovation

Néné Diallo (BSCN ’00) says that without a solid company strategy and business model, it’s difficult to implement new technology innovations into the workplace. As a manager of service innovation for Intelsat, Diallo leads her team in developing cost-effective and innovative mission critical communication services and solutions for clients.

Diallo discusses how to bring innovative services and products into the workplace:

What should people know when implementing a new, innovative service or product?

A new product or service has to be a strategic decision. A key factor for successful technology innovation lies in the ability of an organization to rapidly and efficiently align the requirements of the market with the potential that is offered by new technologies, and to integrate the results in its own products and processes.

How do you determine whether a new technology is going to be a good fit for your company?

This is why planning and strategizing are important. In today’s climate, we tend to get excited about new technology, but we don’t think about how it fit the organization’s strategy. Any opportunity should be considered for its ability to increase market penetration, secure a competitive advantage, improve margins or strengthen brand loyalty. Innovation is not helpful when it is scattered. But when it’s focused, it can be very powerful.

How do you approach innovation?

People sometimes assume that innovation equates to simply introducing a new technology into the workplace. However, innovation can mean thinking differently about your products, your processes and your employees. It can mean figuring out how to come up with a faster and more efficient way to conduct business. It’s OK to be creative with resources you already have.

What can organizations do to encourage employees to be innovative?

It starts with leaders who are open to innovation. They must be flexible and global in their thinking. Employees should be encouraged to come forward with innovative ideas. For example, in my department, we encourage our technicians and sales engineers to tell us about new service ideas that could take us to the next level. After all, these folks are the ones interacting with customers, so they might come up with an opportunity that my team never would have thought about. Innovation still has to be practical.