Today EMC is celebrating its sixth annual Innovation Conference at our Center of Excellence in Herzliya, Israel. The main stage of EMC's Innovation Conference moves from country to country each year, and in 2012 the employees at EMC Israel have gone all-out with a multi-floor Innovation Market extravaganza.
One of the key elements of a global reverse innovation strategy is to expand knowledge in local markets. EMC employees in Israel accomplish this by creating partnerships with (a) local universities, (b) local government programs, (c) local corporations and businesses, and (d) local startups. These elements are combined with local relationships to customers and partners.
For today's conference, the hallways are filled with dozens of local partners in an "Innovative Windows Decoration Contest". The floor plan below shows the extent to which Israel's local partners have participated in the contest:
Each partner has worked with EMC Design Services to create an eight foot high poster advertising their idea. They stand alongside their poster with their "product" and mingle with EMC employees (who are devoting their entire day to participate in the festivities). At the end of the contest, each employee fills out the form below in order to vote for their favorite idea.
As the Director of University R&D partnerships worldwide, I was happy to make connections today with our university partners in Israel (the Israel COE has at least a half dozen cutting-edge research partnerships between local faculty and EMC employees).
I was also impressed with GM Israel's driving simulator on the seventh floor of the building. GM uses this simulator to experiment with advanced user interfaces inside cars (e.g. voice recognition systems). The simulator observes the behavior of the drivers as they interact with potentially new interfaces. One of our EMC employees took the system for a test drive:
What was my favorite idea? That's tough to say. Before my trip to Israel I dropped my dog off at a local kennel. I've been concerned about how he is doing as Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast. I would have felt a lot better if I knew that he was comfortably watching DogTV on his own monitor:
The day was incredibly well-planned in Israel, and part of a world-wide effort to coordinate similar events at our global locations. The Innovation Market concept will also be rolled out in corporate headquarters (176 South Street in Hopkinton) on November 1st. The global celebrations are marked by streaming videos from the main stage, and united by the announcements of the 28 winning ideas from EMC's 2012 Innovation Showcase. All winners will not only receive a cash award, but the 28 sponsoring organizations have offered to incubate the winning ideas in 2013.
The map below shows the location of global conferences, as well as the locations of idea submitters around the world this year.
Perhaps the most exciting part of the day was the announcement of the formation of EMC Labs Israel. Israel becomes the second location for the EMC Labs brand (I have written often about the innovative work occuring at EMC Labs China). Dr. Orna Berry, EMC Vice President and General Manager of the Israel COE, made the announcement to a packed house in Herzliya:
In 2011 I wrote a retrospective of how the annual Innovation Conference changed my career.
Based on my experiences today, the Innovation Conference continues in its capacity to change EMC employee careers around the globe.
Director, EMC Innovation Network