More than 20 years experience across the mobile, media, financial services, and technology sectors.
As an executive in both Fortune 100 companies and startups, she has led strategy, business development, partnerships, investments, product and marketing launches, and developed and run innovation programs.
Most recently, she served as Vice President, Business Development & Investments, at American Express, responsible for partnerships, strategy, and investments in related technologies.
Prior to joining American Express, she was Executive Director, Business Development & Partnership Management, at Verizon Wireless, responsible for innovation, leading strategic partnerships, launching new products, and running Verizon’s mobile applications ecosystem.
Supports entrepreneurs through advising and investing in mobile-related startups, innovation platforms and accelerator programs in the U.S. and internationally.
The complexity of operating a large corporation results in the vast majority of employees' time being spent on the fundamentals – running the existing business, keeping up with new regulations, managing costs, budgets and risk, and responding to the constant demands of customers, shareholders and financial analysts.
Though this is starting to change, most corporations don't focus a great deal of their in-house resources on innovation.
Without a commitment to innovation, corporations just maintain the status quo. Eventually, they find themselves losing market share and then scrambling to try to catch up to their more progressive competitors. Sometimes the realization that they are behind in offering innovative new products and services to customers comes too late and they lose sales and the public's respect, finding themselves in a downward spiral that may be impossible to reverse.
Even when corporations do realize they need to innovate or face extinction, they lack the internal resources to pursue meaningful new technological developments. That's why the leaders of many large progressive corporations are finding that the best ideas for new technological developments in areas like mobile payments, micro lending, loyalty services and others come from third-party vendors that specialize in innovation. Innovative third parties bring problem-solving skills, creativity and new ways of thinking in order to develop the next wave of services to launch.
Before corporations can successfully move away from the traditional mindset of doing everything internally, however, some basic shifts need to take place:
Culture: The culture must change, starting at the executive level, to embrace an openness to exploring possibilities with third-party innovators.
Appetite for risk: Employees throughout the organization must be willing to take on risk, because it's inevitable that some attempts at innovation will initially fail. Lessons will be learned that can be applied to future efforts, but all involved with the effort must be willing to assume the risks.
Organization: Structure your organization to reward employees based on growing existing business; hire new employees with skills and experience innovating and who know how to engage and implement partnerships.
Branding: The corporation has to carefully consider how innovative new products will be named and identified, in order to protect brand integrity and consistency in the marketplace.
Sharing responsibility: The corporation has to consider which party ultimately owns the new product, and who is responsible for customer service and troubleshooting when things go wrong after launch or when a customer needs assistance with basic functionality.
Expectation management: Realistic expectations must be set for initial return on investment. Many innovative products and services will not produce significant new revenue streams at the onset, but the long-term financial gain, customer acquisition and retention can be significant.
While corporations that have always relied on internal resources for product development have to change their mindsets to successfully work with third-party innovators, the benefits can be tremendous. The world's most admired corporations – Apple, Google, Facebook, American Express, VISA and others – are outstanding companies that set the bar on innovation by working with creative third parties to bring the next wave of exciting products to consumers.