Why Visit Silicon Valley To Discover How To Reinvent Your Company For The Digital World

С-level executives from leading organizations in Brazil, Colombia, India and Peru came to Silicon Valley and found innovative ways to reimagine portions of their existing businesses by embracing digital transformation during our most recent Leading Digital Transformation immersion program.

In August the team here at Silicon Valley Innovation Center welcomed a cohort of executives to our 3rd Leading Digital Transformation innovation immersion program. The senior executives hailed from companies including Morpho, a global leader in security and identity verification, Vizitech Solutions, a software solutions provider, Amdocs, a multinational software provider for media and communications companies, Change Americas, a change management consultancy, and Zenvia Mobile, a Brazilian giant of messaging and email communication. They all traveled to Silicon Valley to witness first-hand examples and stories of digital transformation in progress and successfully done during 5 day intensive program.

Over 5 days the group met with more than 20 cutting-edge technology companies who are successfully implementing ongoing digital transformation. They saw the latest innovations in Digital Transformation, Artificial Intelligence, IoT, Virtual and Augmented Reality, Innovation Management, Technology Investments, and Corporate Innovation. Along with these sights, they received first-hand advice from leading Silicon Valley experts and directly connected with the top innovators and practitioners shaping our digital future.

Anand Shiralkar is the Founder and CEO of Vizitech Solutions, which is looking for new ways to add value to the world of banking and finance through technological innovation. See what he said about his experience on the 5 day Silicon Valley immersion program:

“My intention was to learn more about the Silicon Valley ecosystem. We are on the 5th day of the program, and I am completely enjoying it. Lots of takeaways that I will use and can apply for my company.”

Andy Zhulenev, VP of Corporate Innovation at Silicon Valley Innovation Center, and Vitaly Golomb, HP Tech Ventures started Day 1 by delivering an in-depth introduction to Silicon Valley’s ecosystem. They covered the impact of disruptive innovations and provided some practical solutions to keep in mind when considering the “innovator’s dilemma.” The innovator’s dilemma refers to the challenge large companies have by wanting to be innovative, but not wanting the innovation to cannibalize or hurt existing productive business operations.
Next Shahid Khan, the Global Director of Design Thinking with SAP shared some lessons and mistakes that companies might make while taking on digital transformation projects. The group also had the chance to visit Flex, one of the world’s largest electronics manufacturers. At Flex the group not only learned about emerging new technologies but also got the rare chance to tour its Design and Advance Engineering Labs, which Flex itself calls the “Secret Labs of Silicon Valley.”

Day 2 focused on Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things. The participants met with  Ed Fernandez, a Partner and Co-founder of Naiss, a technology business model advisory and investment group. A venture capital investor himself, Ed shared his high-level breakdown of the current investment and development activity in Artificial Intelligence and also helped the group to better understand what AI even means. He highlighted which enterprise verticals show the most potential for large – scale AI adoption – retail, financial services, advertising, healthcare, government, and manufacturing. You can read more about Ed’s thoughts on AI in his company’s blog post – Machine Learning an Industry Perspective.

They learned from Ed that AI is becoming a standard part of every industry, and in fact has already been in use in many industries for the last two decades. Two AI startups joined the group and presented their unique niche applications of AI. Magisto uses AI for video marketing. More specifically you can upload video clips to its cloud platform, and its AI algorithms automatically edit the video clips to a compelling output video to be used for content marketing. AIBrain offers a suite of machine learning and artificial intelligence tools. One of their most endearing products, Tyche, is at play the children’s toys space. Tyche is an AI program that uses facial and voice recognition to communicate with you in basic Cambridge English. It is similar to a pet that your children – and you – can play with. The product is in development and not yet on the market.

Last but certainly not least, the group visited the Experience Center of our long time partner IngDan. Ingdan is a subsidiary of Cogobuy group, which is the largest e-commerce platform that connects corporations with electronics parts components in China. So there it is no surprise that IngDan’s Experience Center is stocked full of exciting robots, gadgets, and other advanced consumer and commercial electronics. At IngDan our group got a feel of new connected devices and robots in following industries: health and wellness, smart home, intelligent transportation, virtual reality, drones, and 3D printing.

Day 3 comprised a crash course in Virtual and Augmented Reality. The cohort visited the offices of several innovative startups to learn from their founders and VR experts about the next steps in virtual reality and talked about how VR/AR is currently used and what it takes to break the barrier between the virtual world and the physical world.

By Day 4, after seeing exciting startups in Robotics, AI, and Virtual Reality, the group was ready to tackle some challenges specific to their own companies. And luckily that this is the day we planned for them to talk about corporate innovation and design thinking with experts from the field. The day opened with Danielle Grossi from the SAP Data Network and Shaloo Garg from Oracle’s Startup Accelerator leading our executive participants in discussions of the challenges and opportunities of building a startup inside of an established corporation. Another area of focus was how to create an innovation cluster within a traditional company.
Later that day, we switched gears to discuss how to transform company culture by applying Design Thinking methodologies. Sean Ness from the Institute for the Future provided insights into business strategy, design process, innovation, and social dilemmas. Suzanne Alexandra, Lead Experience Designer and Innovator at Intuit, held a workshop where all participants had a chance themselves to define new approaches and experiences that transform the way people use products and interact with brands.

While it is likely impossible to pinpoint any one thing that makes Silicon Valley magic, the widespread adoption of design thinking must be high up on the ranking. Design thinking allows teams to collaborate in ways they often haven’t before by having intense bursts of ideation and definition of those ideas. As Suzanne explained, each individual on the team should come up with the wildest ideas they can think of for the solution of the challenge at hand. And write each one on a sticky-note. The idea stickies are then placed on a white-board along a X-axis for how much the customer would like it. And Y-axis for how easy it is to implement. From there the ideas are prototyped and refined.

Corporate innovation practices and strategies were covered in great detail during Day 5, when our participants traveled to the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business to meet innovation experts from the Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology.

One of our program participants is Gabriela Vargas. Gabriela is the Director of Strategy and Marketing at Zenvia Mobile, which has been a leader in mobile and email communication for business in Brazil for over 12 years. They serve thousands of companies from different segments, sending and receiving millions of messages every day. Gabriela had this to say about her experience during the 5 day of Leading Digital Transformation program:

“For me, the most interesting part of the program was to see how Silicon Valley truly works. In Brazil, we listen a lot about Silicon Valley, but when you come here, see and listen to people about their real-life examples, experiences, it’s entirely different. For me, it was a transformative experience. If I have a chance in the future to join another SVIC’s program, I will do it, because when you come here – you know what to do next to transform your reality.”

Ciro Perez, President at Change Americas, echoed Gabriela’s comments:

“This week with Silicon Valley Innovation Center was a real experience. A great mix between academic and real world lessons. “We have a lot of opportunities for networking with people from different companies and get a lot of tools and new methodology that you can apply in your organization.”

Marcela Tovar, Organizational Change Director at Amdocs, leading software & services provider to the world’s most successful communications and media companies, shared her experience:

“I was looking to learn more about digital transformation, and I found it with Silicon Valley Innovation Center program. These are the three key takeaways: 1. You are in touch with real innovation environment, and able to see many people who are thinking differently about innovation, who are full of new ideas, people that make you feel that future is here. And it’s going to happen. 2. Amazing speakers and topics: from AI, Machine Learning, and VR to Design Thinking and Corporate Innovation. 3. New tools and methodologies that you can directly apply into company processes. It was the great program, and I would do it again in the future.”

Digital technologies and the ways we use them in our personal and business lives have changed the face of business and will continue to do so. Delivering a great digital business experience for employees and consumers requires today the use of latest digital technologies and innovative applications at the speed of ideas. That’s the way to stay ahead in competition in today’s world.

Leading Digital Transformation runs 4 times a year. To learn more and sign up for the next program, go here: https://siliconvalley.center/leading-digital-transformation/