Please scroll down to the Event Summary for the event recap
and key takeaways.
The average age of corporations in this country is shrinking, thanks to the speed of disruption. Is your company ready to beat the odds? Join us to hear highlights from CES® (the Consumer Electronics Show), "the world's gathering place for all those who thrive on the business of consumer technologies,” and to learn about innovation oversight in a rapidly changing marketplace.
Erin Essenmacher, NACD’s chief programming officer and director for Eileen Fisher, will share key trends from the January 2019 CESshow, then moderate an all-star panel, including:
Robin Bienfait, CEO and Founder, Emnovate; Chair, Global Aviation
D'Anne Hurd, Director, Monzite Corporation, Pax World Funds, Peckham Industries, and Eileen Fisher
Tyler Scriven, Co-Warehousing Startup Entrepreneur; Former Managing Director, Techstars
Our panelists will speak about the potential strategic impacts of important innovations and global technologies, such as 5G, artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, blockchain, retail tech, voice, digital money, health care, robots, and self-driving cars. Importantly, we will get above the buzzwords to consider how today’s director can bring appropriate oversight to a company’s innovation and technological evolution.
Key takeaways to take back to your boardroom will include:
New technologies that could disrupt industries and impact shareholder value
Some of the strategic opportunities and risks accompanying these technologies
The key questions directors should be asking at board meetings
How boards from all industries can engender an innovation culture
From left to right: Tyler Scriven, D'Anne Hurd, Erin Essenmacher and Robin Bienfiat.
NACD Atlanta hosted an outstanding panel on tech trends and innovation, led by NACD Chief Programming Officer Erin Essenmacher and featuring Robin Bienfait, CEO and Founder, Emnovate; Chair, Global Aviation; D'Anne Hurd, Director, Monzite Corporation, Pax World Funds, Peckham Industries, and Eileen Fisher; and Tyler Scriven, Co-Warehousing Startup Entrepreneur; Former Managing Director, Techstars
Ms. Essenmacher first shared highlights from the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. She focused on P&G’s presence there, including the company’s innovations in skin care, razors, and more. Several key questions for directors emerged:
Do we have a culture of innovation? P&G has an innovation team that reports up to the executive team and board, as well as innovation work in brand verticals.
What business are we in? The Tide team expanded its thinking on its business and, as a result, launched dry cleaners in various cities.
What does a customer-centric approach look like? Gillette used Indiegogo crowdfunding platform to reach a new set of consumers and get customer feedback.
Another important question that emerged at this year’s CES is how are privacy and trust considered in our innovations?
In response to some of the questions asked in the context of strategy sessions, Ms. Hurd shared the story of how a fourth-generation family-owned materials distributor made important breakthroughs by looking at trends. They:
Leveraged land surrounding plants to create new revenue streams from windmills and solar panels;
Used drones to take inventory of stockpiles;
Employed sensors for additional monitoring of equipment; and
Completed a joint venture with a European 3D printing company to explore the possibility of using the technology in concrete.
The panel then discussed several key questions, with the following takeaways:
Innovation “labs” at CES are often more about marketing innovation than actual innovation. According to Ms. Bienfait, an emerging model is the use of tech challenges by larger companies to generate input from the entrepreneurial space. Mr. Scriven, who himself is an entrepreneur in the co-warehousing space, emphasized the importance of selecting the right person to interface with startups and accelerators. He explained that acquired startup companies will suffer if folded into the larger company culture. Larger companies should consider adopting the younger company’s culture versus the other way around.
Directors should probe how the company treats failure. Ms. Bienfait shared that at Samsung, each new project is given to two competing teams. Competition is fierce to win, but it is the losing team that is celebrated for making the winning team stronger.
The board can also keep a close eye on risk to determine if new projects are going off the rails, according to Ms. Hurd. One of her boards asked for a dashboard, which they used to discover a problematic system implementation. Mr. Scriven reminded the audience that both recognizing and acknowledging a problem in an organization are critical, because problems create an opportunity for iteration and innovation.
Talent is a key ingredient for innovation. While at Silicon Valley–based Palantir Technologies, Mr. Scriven helped the company scale from 70 people to 2,000 people, with more than 10,000 interviews per year. He stressed that hiring smart, young talent, even if not considered to be traditionally “qualified” for a position, can give stars a chance to emerge, grow, and thrive. Ms. Bienfait stressed that it is also important that new or rising talent are a culture fit so that they can be successful. Additionally, look for a “fire starter”—someone with a passion for change and little fear of being fired—and look at the CISO and CIO in case a refresh is needed.
The NACD Atlanta Chapter thanks the esteemed panel members for sharing their expertise and insights and likewise thanks its sponsors for making the event possible.
Executive with 30+ years of experience and expertise in mobility, security, business development, enterprise sales, wireless network operations and engineering. Global Intrapreneur working to build businesses within businesses and driving new revenue opportunities.
Current engagements: CEO and Founder of Emnovate, Chairman of Global Aviation, Partner Valor Ventures, member of Georgia Institute of Technology Board and a Tiffany Circle member of the American Red Cross. Independent director for Mitsubishi Finance, GWLC and Putnam investments.
Prior roles - Senior Advisor to Samsung Electronics on B2B. Chief Enterprise Innovation Officer for Samsung Electronics building Samsung Business Services for enterprise customers. Open ecosystem of partners and solutions with a mobile first strategy.
Prior role as CIO of Research In Motion, Ltd. in which I oversaw the Enterprise Business Unit P&L, BlackBerry Operations, Customer Service and Corporate IT functions.
Previously, I led over 30,000 employees at AT&T (retired) dedicated to building a scalable and reliable enterprise class network. Throughout my 22+ years with AT&T, I held various senior leadership positions, including Bell Labs, Global Network Services lines of business and Chief Compliance Officer.
Director, Monzite Corporation, Pax World Funds, Peckham Industries, Eileen Fisher
Independent Trustee Pax World Funds, Pax Ellevate Fund; Director, EILEEN FISHER Inc., Peckham Industries Inc., Monzite Corp.
D’Anne Hurd is a qualified financial expert and ESG/sustainability authority with more than two decades of experience serving on and consulting to the boards of public, private, and family-owned companies. She recently joined the board of EILEEN FISHER Inc. as its first independent director and chairs its nominating and governance committee. Hurd also chairs the board of Monzite Corp., sits on the audit committee of Pax World Funds and Pax Ellevate Funds, chairs the audit committee of Peckham Industries Inc., and is serving a second term on the board of Camp Dudley. She was lead independent director for Hiperos, a cloud-based, software-as-a-service supply chain and third-party governance, risk, and compliance solutions provider. Hurd previously served on the boards of public companies in the technology, pharmaceuticals, and defense industries. Her business background includes roles as COO, CFO, and general counsel for six rapidly growing, Boston-based technology companies. Hurd is an NACD Board Leadership Fellow.
Co-Warehousing Startup Entrepreneur; Former Managing Director, Techstars
Tyler is an co-warehousing startup entrepreneur, and early-stage technology investor and advisor.
Previously, Tyler served as Co-Managing Director of Techstars Atlanta.
Prior to joining Techstars, Tyler was a member of the senior leadership team at Palantir Technologies in Silicon Valley, where he served as Chief of Staff and Head of Operations. During his tenure with Palantir, he was broadly engaged in scaling the operations of the business from 100 to nearly 2,000 employees.
Tyler graduated from the University of Virginia with a B.A. in Economics.
Erin Essenmacher serves as the chief programming officer for the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), responsible for content curation, strategy and execution of more than 60 virtual and brick and mortar education programs and events a year. Essenmacher is also an award-winning writer, director, and producer with nearly 20 years of experience in media production. She has written, directed, and produced films for PBS, The Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, the History Channel, and Court TV, and produced and co-wrote the critically acclaimed independent documentary MINE. She currently serves on the board of Gandhi Brigade, a youth media non-profit.