The Inc. Lab
Adriana Avakian, Principal and EVP, Innovation Strategy
1. What does innovation mean to you?
We believe that people should be at the center of innovation, hence, we specialize in Human Centered Interactive Innovation. We think that how we interact with things, our environment and brands is essential to value creation. As such, we also believe that one of the biggest opportunities for organizations in the IoT era is to position their productions and services as experiences. Like all things, we also believe that innovation is a process; Our Creative Innovation Matrix process helps organizations innovate, engage with their customers and unlock possibilities.
2. What makes your company /organization innovative?
We have embraced diversity of thinking as core to our culture. We have a multi-cultural, multi-disciplinary team trained to scout and re-frame emerging technologies. In turn, we are able to combine different elements and fascinating new technologies like virtual reality, augmented reality, 3D design and interactive multi modal technologies (touch, gesture, voice) to create amazing interactive experiences designed to engage, unlock, and connect with products and brands. Each experience is unique and a first, while some concepts are similar, our customers vary across so many different verticals, our job is to make their visions real by innovating how people interact with their audience.
3. What or who are some innovative companies or people that inspire you and your team?
We are driven and inspired by people like Elon Musk, thinking there is not only ROI but ROG or Return on Goods, and visionaries and explorers of new horizons. Companies like Amazon, offering more, faster and smarter and revolutionizing commerce. Uber, disrupting and accelerating autonomous driving, and Snap, bringing a simple way to connect and engage.
4. What about Greater Washington has positioned us as an innovative region?
The Greater Washington location, culture and dynamics builds great, innovative startups – I recently read in the Washington Business Journal that over the past 20 years, more than 110 D.C. area startups were sold for more than $1 billion, and out of 6,000 business sales over the last 20 years, about 75 percent were to out-of-region purchasers so we are in the correct area!
5. What advice would you give to up and coming leaders striving to be innovative in today’s business environment?
Disruptive innovation is more powerful when applied to a platform than to a product. More importantly, innovations that focus on the customer not only create value, but enable companies to diversify and open markets.New concepts should stand alone to continue their experimental face. Last, have an innovative testing exit strategy. If things don’t work, react and redeploy resources.