c sus .e du /s a c s t ate ma ga z in e | Fa l l 2 014 19
Felipe Ortega, MBA '95
R&D Operations Manager, Hewlett-Packard Networking,
where he oversees software testing for HP's wire-to-wireless
networking, and wire to wireless networking
FIRST JOB: Delivering newspapers
I have a big interest in innovation because it involves human
behavior. How do you create an environment that will invite or
allow ideas to happen and how do you protect those ideas so
they can see the light and not be shot down by naysayers?
Here are the seven ways that a manager/leader can create an
environment for maximizing innovation:
n State the objective or desired outcome, not how to do it. Ask
"Can you make it better for the customer" rather than "Move
this" or "Change that." Give them the freedom to figure it out
n Encourage different starting
points and thinking sequences
when solving a problem. People
can get into a rhythm of solving
the next problem the same way
they solved the last one.
n Be prepared to run into walls.
Sooner or later you'll get to a
solution. And a mistake in the
pursuit of one problem can be
the solution to another.
n Manage the people that want
to kill an idea right after it has
come to light. There is a time to
look at an idea from a devil's advocate's point of view, but not
n Create a sense of urgency, need or limits. This sharpens the focus
n Celebrate every innovation. What gets positively recognized
gets repeated and others see it is valued. Those who see
innovation being rewarded will also have an incentive to support
and see ideas through.
n Make innovations an expectation of all team members.
A lot of people think innovation only applies to creating a
product that never existed. But improvements to an existing
product—making it faster or more cost-effective—can also
result from innovation.
"Be prepared to run into
walls. Sooner or later
you'll get to a solution."