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'How Can I' Innovation Interview: Scott Weiss, White House Presidential Innovation Fellow

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As part of our FEI ‘How Can I’ LinkedIn interview series, we recently sat down with Scott Weiss, White House Presidential Innovation Fellow, Veterans Experience Office at White House Presidential Innovation Fellows, to get his advice on how to create transformational value for your business, how to create a culture for disruptors to succeed, how to create a better ecosystem for new ideas, among much more! Read the full interview below:

How can I create transformational value for my business in the future?

Scott Weiss: I think that the best way to create transformational value for your business (product, service, platform etc.), is to hardwire best-in-class customer experience practices throughout the innovation and design process (from research to launch to measurement). There are cutting edge platforms that currently help product teams better understand how customers are experiencing their products and services. Pair that with empathetic qualitative research to validate customer experience data, and the business will be much stronger. There's only so much insight that a competitive market analysis can yield in 2020 and beyond. Additionally, become more design-led as an organization - that often requires bringing in talent across disciplines to bring more rich and unexpected perspectives to your product or service.

How can I create a company environment for disruptors to succeed?

SW: One of my most favorite organizational design quotes is, "culture eats strategy for breakfast."  It's an elegant way to inspire leaders to organize their mission, values, and vision around the experience of their employees. Here are some questions for leaders to orient around and reflect on: Are you creating a culture of permission and creative confidence? Are you creating a culture that doesn't fixate on failure, but rather learns from it?  Are you creating a culture that celebrates a diversity of perspectives? Are you creating a culture that brings deep empathy to both the internal co-worker and external customer? Finally, if you are bringing disruptive employees into your organization - ensure that they are adherent to your core cultural values, and are not bringing arrogance to the mission.

How can I better leverage data to drive disruptive innovation at my organization?

SW: Work with an analytics platform and third party that you trust and respect.  There are quite a few to choose from so ensure that they come in as a creative collaborator and not an enterprising sales team.

How can I create a better ecosystem for new ideas?

SW: Ensure that you're designing a culture that is inclusive of all voices at your organization - Innovation is a conversation that every employee has a right to participate in. This is not an expensive undertaking by any means. Allow teams to experiment more actively through a creative design process. If your organization is especially large, there are some open innovation platforms that allows a wide cross-section of employees an opportunity to generate and cultivate new ideas.

How can I evolve my products to meet future market needs?

SW: What does research look like at your organization? That practice is constantly evolving and growing. It would behoove any company to look more thoughtfully across industry to better identify trends related to your product area, and pair that with agile cycles of experimentation and user feedback. Also, engage more futurists and consultants who are singularly focused and skilled at predicting brand and product trends.

How can I make and deliver products for consumers in the future?

SW: Again, actively study industry and market trends to better understand what might be coming down the road. How are you currently thinking about artificial intelligence? How are you thinking about strategic partnerships with organizations that serve your business needs?

Scott will be presenting a keynote session, “How human-centered design is driving scalable and sustainable change across federal government,” at FEI 2020 in Boston, MA on Tuesday, May 5th at 3:50 PM EST. His presentation will explore the variety of innovative projects underway at the Veterans Experience Office, and the Presidential Innovation Fellowship. View more information here:

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