October 2013 | Senior Leadership
“There comes a moment in your career — for me it is after 30-plus years of experience — when you realize how difficult it is to stay updated. And a manager can only be successful if she or he is up to date,” says European-based CEO Elizabeth Trallero. “Technology especially is moving so quickly. The only way to step back and ask yourself if what you are doing still fits in this moment is to really get away from your routine. I went to Silicon Valley with the Wharton Fellows to get out of operational and tactical thinking, update my knowledge, and rethink my mental models.”
The exclusive group of 50 Fellows met in July with some of the world’s most innovative companies for three days of site visits with senior executives, panel discussions, and high level networking. CEO Giovanni Feroce recalls, “The access and level of insights was unprecedented. I saw what the future looks like. With our company in hypergrowth, we have to be continuously developing, and as part of the Wharton Fellows Program, I can see that at work.”
As the Fellows met at the offices of Facebook, Samsung, and Cisco (to name a few), they learned how these companies repeatedly create new solutions for themselves and their customers. At Google, they spoke with senior executives about the company’s famous Nine Principles of Innovation. The Fellows found that some of the principles resonated more powerfully than others, and they had some unique ideas as they started to experiment with some of them in their own companies. Here are their key takeaways:
Wind continues, “Anyone can read about the culture at Google. You can read about what they’re doing that works, and what’s new. You can memorize their nine principles of innovation. But culture is something you need to experience. If you want to learn what makes them work, you go there. You talk with the executives who are making it happen.”
For 2014, Program Director David Heckman and Faculty Director and Professor Jerry Wind plan to continue the Wharton Fellows’ Next Big Thing with access to and insights from the world’s most innovative companies in three locations. The New York Master Class (February) will include visits to best-of-breed organizations from advertising, art, media, entertainment, fashion, retail, technology, real estate, financial services, and government. In Seattle (May), Fellows will meet with senior executives at Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon, Nordstrom, Costco, and Starbucks. And in Tel Aviv, Israel (August), visits to incubators, VCs, and start-ups will be balanced with well-established multinational companies with a foot print in Israel and global Israeli companies with a reputation for sustaining cutting-edge innovation.
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