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Since its early days, Nasdaq has been on the bleeding edge of innovation.
Like any company that has withstood the test of time and remained a business people count on, Nasdaq has found new ways to reinvent itself. From leveraging new advances in technology to developing and executing strategic initiatives, the company’s ability to focus on where the world is going has helped turn itself into one of the leading stock exchanges for publicly traded companies and technology providers for the capital-markets.
At this year’s Spigit Ignite conference, attendees will have an opportunity to hear from Nasdaq’s Vice President of Corporate Strategy, Rebecca Cameron.
With Ignite being weeks away, we caught up with Rebecca to learn a little bit more about her talk at the conference. Below is our conversation.
Spigit: 2018 is in full swing, are there any trends in innovation or even technology that you’re excited to explore more this year?
Rebecca: Yes. As more and more technology across everything – from internet of things and machine learning to mobile and all of these technology enablements – gets into the hands of individuals around the globe it’s creating new markets. As an organization that has a history and roots in capital markets, we see a great benefit for empowering price discovery, transparency and liquidity. We believe there are other marketplace economies, which we can partner and provide similar benefits.
One of our key themes is supporting this concept through rewriting tomorrow. We see that in how markets and economies come to be. From that perspective, we’re think about things such as: can we have a role there? What is our role there? How can we partner and make those potentials realities?
Spigit: What are some lessons you’ve learned while leading Nasdaq’s innovation program?
Rebecca: The one that really resonates the most, that comes at us from all sides, is that sometimes the yes is a no from an idea implementation perspective.
When it comes to innovation: you have to communicate with employees, you need to make them aware of the process, you need to educate them, you need to connect the dots to your strategic ambitions and articulate capital allocation strategies, and why maybe a grassroots or a crowdsourced idea that’s very popular is not necessarily a priority that’s implemented. If it is a no, it shouldn’t be just ignored. It should be addressed and communicated on the why so that more people can bring forward new ideas that do align with the strategic direction. It’s one thing to just innovate, but it’s another to have those innovations actually move into action and have impact.
Spigit: What advice would you give someone just starting their ideation journey, and who’s in the early-stages of creating an innovation program?
Rebecca: Patience is necessary. Especially if you’re not doing this with top down company-wide buy-in. Change is hard, but it’s important.
You need to have the right stakeholders involved. You can find these champions throughout the organization. I’m fortunate in my role that I already have executive sponsorship. So, I didn’t necessarily have to go search for it, but there are those internal champions that will want to make an impact and support you making a transformation and culture shift.
Change doesn’t happen overnight. Some are going to get buy-in and be with you every step of the way and others are not.
Spigit: Do you have any recommendations on how to identify the right champions in an organization?
Rebecca: Yes. First, look for executive champions: people who are forward-looking, seeking new ways to grow the business, and are more inquisitive about how we do work and why we do things versus just an execution mindset.
Second, find people who talk in longer time horizons, are customer focused, and inquisitive of emerging trends…this is wonderful at the Executive level, but the same characteristics can be found at the employee level.
Our program has innovation champions that seek out volunteers to help scale our efforts and reach our employee base. We look for those characteristics I mentioned in them.
We have a variety of champions: Promoters are enthusiastic employees that exhibit that natural drive and inquisitive nature. Then we have Leads that can help represent our program’s framework and principles. Then we have mid-level management expert champions that are helping us refine and select ideas that come from the platform based off of strategic alignment and other known business priorities.
Spigit: What are you looking forward to at this year’s Ignite conference?
Rebecca: For me, it’s an opportunity to swap stories with my peers. It’s a great opportunity to come together as a community; people know your pain points. It’s also an opportunity to learn from others that are a further along in their ideation journey.
Spigit: Can you share a little bit about what you plan on talking about on the Ignite stage?
Rebecca: For Nasdaq, where we are in our ideation journey is maturing. So for 2018, we’re strongly looking at culture and really fostering a lot of the change through ideation, and how the practice connects to our corporate strategy.
During my talk at Ignite, that’s what I plan on conveying – how to drive cultural transformation through ideation while aligning the practice to a company’s strategic goals and objectives. Ultimately, what I hope to leave people with is that change is hard. But with the right sponsorship, right engagement, and with emphasis on tools, such as Spigit, you can see impact.
Don’t miss your opportunity to hear Rebecca, as well as the rest of the Ignite speakers, at the premier conference for innovation leaders around the world!