Monday, November 12, 2001

Chat with John Wolpert IBM's John Wolpert came to University of Chicago today to talk about their Extreme Blue internship gig. He was a really nice and impressive guy, even though he misattributed "grok" ;)

He had insightful things to say about internal business innovation. As someone who's worked on business innovation in three different environments, many of his insights rang true. In particular, he noted how "innovation boxes" based on internal ideas fail, something I saw firsthand at Monitor's "business innovation" spin-off, Marketspace.

He also pointed out that openness was critical. Orphaned ideas at IBM were simply shared with the outside world, something that gave them a new lease on life and made them be taken more seriously internally. Monitor (Marketspace's parent company) was very bad at openness. DE Shaw (another place I worked that tried to innovate new businesses) was also incredibly secretive.


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