Leading up to the Greater Washington Innovation Awards, we will be featuring interviews with finalists on our blog.
Attributed to Gulu Gambhir, Leidos Chief Technology Officer
1. In your opinion, what makes a company innovative?
Its people. Supporting employees with resources like money and time, repeatable innovation-related processes, and a culture tolerant of risk-taking and “successful” failure encourages innovation.
2. What makes your company innovative?
Our employees make Leidos innovative. We’re working to establish a culture of innovation, one that embraces questioning of why we do things a certain way and where employees challenge the status quo. We have a research and development program that embraces internal crowd sourcing, allowing employees across the enterprise to obtain internal seed funding to pursue their innovative ideas. Last year, we funded 15 projects in this fashion, selected from over 125 submissions. For 2015, we’ve budgeted funds for follow-on efforts for the most successful of these 15 projects, and another round of new projects starts. We’re also in the midst of deploying an internal Innovation Massively Open Online Course (MOOC) allowing all of our employees to develop skills in innovation competencies.
3. What or who are some innovative companies or people that inspire you and your team?
Our greatest innovations come from trying to solve the problems that our customers face. If we can develop something that allows our customers to be more successful, we improve customer satisfaction and retention. This in turn improves our ability to win new work and drives growth.
4. What are some publications, print or digital, you read daily or have read that help you stay on top of your game? These could be books, magazine, blogs, e-newsletters, etc.
Innovation often seems to arise when advances in two somewhat disparate disciplines come together. For this reason, I like a variety of technical and business sources: the Wall Street Journal, Wired, TED talks, and a weekly Department of Defense Science and Technology newsletter, ASD(R&E) S&T News Bulletin.
5. What advice would you give to up-and-coming leaders striving to be innovative in today’s business environment?
Opportunities for advancement are almost always accompanied by risk; without a willingness to take risk, innovation is nearly impossible.
For more information, please visit www.leidos.com