Cheryl Reed, Chief Innovation Officer of Dover Corporation, spoke at 352 Inc.’s Enterprise Entrepreneurship Series (EES) event in February, 2018. We know that innovators can’t afford to work on an island. They must collaborate across the enterprise to co-create customer-focused solutions that deliver results. Developed by the Wright Brothers Institute, divergent collaboration gives innovators the tools to solve complex problems by forcing them to think differently about the problems facing their businesses.

In this video, Cheryl explores the concepts of divergent thinking and shows how innovation leaders can spark new forms of collaboration in their own labs. Enjoy!

Transcript below

[Kacie Lett] Please join me Cheryl! I want to do a quick introduction for those of you who either have not been to EES or I have not yet met. My name is Kacie Lett, I am the V.P of Client Engagement at 352, we are right upstairs on the second floor so if you want to come and check us out after this we welcome you all to come on by. As a company we are an innovation agency, our focus is to helping enterprises do business better. That’s typically by way of folks that sit in your roles. Many of you are here in the room today are people that we work with day in and day out, on helping change, whether it’s the culture of your organization building frameworks and processes and actually getting things done. A lot of times we sit in a room we talk a lot about it, but we help move those unknowns to knowns and get something in the hands of your customers and get it to market quickly. I want to say a little bit about that just because the EES is an extension of what we do every single day. Our goal is that for anybody that sits in the role of whether it’s corporate enterprise, whether it be enterprise innovation, whether it is product whatever that might be in your individual company, we want to give you the tools and that is also community and connections to be successful in your role. EES was born out of that Enterprise Entrepreneurship Series.

I have some new faces in the room so that’s why I’m giving a little additional Background. It is a monthly meetup we have about 700 people in our Atlanta based community that sit with anywhere from probably manager to C-level of corporate innovators. Our goal is that its best practices thought leadership war stories and as I told some of you sometimes its therapy. it’s meant to learn from each other, it’s meant to give you the tools and assets you need to be successful in your role and that’s exactly why we’re here today talking with Cheryl Reed, the Chief Innovation Officer of Dover Corporation. A quick introduction of Cheryl, I’m going to read from your LinkedIn because I think this is, you per your own description and you lead a team of high energy innovation consultants bringing the best practices in innovation and collaboration to research and development, business processes strategic visioning and targeted technical challenges. That is a lot of really great things that we are about to talk to you about and find out what it means. So, without further ado let’s grab a seat and sit down for the next exciting, I guess, half hour or so.

[Cheryl Reed] The truth in the advertising, I don’t think I updated my LinkedIn when I change, most recently jobs a year ago “So guilty “it’s kind of part of the high energy team, but the truth is we have a very small innovation team. It’s just three of us right now enough energy for the whole team.

[Kacie Lett] How many employers do you serve?

[Cheryl Reed] Yes, so how many employers do we have? I know 29,000 cross all of Dover. Our segment of Dover is roughly a quarter of that so yes, I guess we serve a few.

[Kacie Lett] Well very cool and you know our theme today is, Divergent Collaboration and so some of you may be familiar with it some of you may have some ideas of what it means but we’re going get into the meat of it. Specifically, what it means to Dover, what it means to you and your role, before we dig in here, I would love to give a little background Cheryl joined Dover last year,

[Cheryl Reed] January 16th of 2017.

[Kacie Lett] Celebrated her year anniversary and I think innovation, we can all just in this room alone even though we sit in innovation as our day-to-day jobs probably define it 20 different ways so. I thought to know from you what does innovation means, maybe doing your role as CIO as well as to Dover and why was this strategic decision to invest and build this team.

[Cheryl Reed:] As Ken had mentioned, Dover is this diversified global manufacturer and Dover’s been around for about 63 years and so you could say, “Whoa, that’s an old dog”. And it’s a big dog and you’re trying to teach that old dog new tricks, but I think the truth is that Dover has a long history of a very entrepreneurial spirit and they recognized that they always need to be positioning themselves to think differently at every level of the organization. If you were to ask me in simple terms, why does Dover need an Innovation Centre? They want to keep their thinking fresh, they want every employee to have the opportunity to think a little bit differently about what they’re doing regardless of whether they’re working in Human Relations or New Product Development or Sales and trying to create that customer experience.

[Kacie Lett] Yes, excellent, excellent. So, in your role what would you say is kind of your charge, if you will, what is your goal or vision in this role?

[Cheryl Reed] I think I had the opportunity to talk to a few folks before we started here, and I think it’s cultural. It is that culture of instead of resting on our morals and I think again, proud tradition. We have for years and years and years been very good at understanding what our customers need to differentiate themselves and to be the best version of themselves so we have a rich history of understanding our customers and then being able to look out there to say, “how do we bring that to them”. And then bringing it to them through a very vibrant merger and acquisition kind of process so Dover has got a great history of finding very entrepreneurial companies buying them bringing them into our fold and then enabling them to stay entrepreneurial and allowing them to kind of be very independent even though they’re working for a large company. So, that’s all goodness but in this competitive environment that we’re in there are challenges to that too because we’re not going to be able to compete with the rest of you all out there. If we don’t start leveraging economies of scale so 29,000 people 200 manufacturing facilities around the globe, we’d better be sharing our supply chain, we’d better be buying our steel in both, we’d better be leveraging all those economies that we can. So, how do you become more process-oriented without giving up your entrepreneurial spirit? Those two oaks kind of don’t fit well together and so I think our need to think differently is how do we keep growing and leverage all those economies. How do we handle that apparent contradiction to stay real entrepreneurial and yet have some common processes and some shared sources?

[Kacie Lett] That’s interesting I think that’s a common kind of conflict that many of us probably see in our roles day to day. Often people think entrepreneurial that means you’re the man, woman or whoever that is with the big idea that’s running around setting things on fire and that’s actually, I think a great entrepreneur is. Typically, someone who has extreme discipline and process around it and that’s sometimes the misconception and maybe it’s not always for the forefront. Cheryl and I we’re catching up a bit before is, how do you make entrepreneurship or intrapreneurship or innovation a discipline, something that you can teach, that’s repeatable and scalable across 29,000 people and empower them in a way that is going to support your overall company vision. I think that it’s probably worth saying that some of your background Cheryl, comes from an organizational psychology and leadership coaching and team development. I think any of us that sits in, it’s not the ideas that we are short on it’s the cultural buy-in. It’s the ability to get people aligned and move things forward that is the challenge. I would love you know even a very high level of some, where do you start with that? That’s a massive undertaking and how do you approach something that arguably is daunting?

[Cheryl Reed] Yes, so I hear you saying how do you approach culture? And I think that’s something that we’re we all deal with. A colleague once told me, he said culture is nothing but a total of all the stories that are told inside of an organization. I’m sure that’s simple, 29,000 people around the globe telling stories, so that forms our culture. I’ve had some senior leaders say well you can’t shape culture you can’t do anything about culture it just happens because of the other things that you’re doing but if we’re intentional about what we’re doing, if we are intentional about our stories and using those stories as guide our organizations would go in a certain direction. I believe we can shape culture and so to get started from my perspective I had to start by listening to those stories. What stories are getting told? When you do your on boarding with the organization and the CEO come in to talk to you, “you know what Bob Livingston’s saying about Dover corporation.” and to a person crossed over the two things that I held on to from that initial onboarding was, this incredible passion for looking our customers up and helping them live up to their potential. Well okay, that’s our why we want them to become extraordinary and then the how was we have this entrepreneurial spirit and if you talk to anyone who’s been with the company for a long period of time they could give you stories until you’re ready to go home.

So that was a good starting point but then you also got this sense of Maine and global sourcing has come along or HR is making everyone go to the same benefits plan. Now we liked our other benefits plan it was better, you could start seeing the ones corporate messing around in our business. I’m sure you guys have never heard any of that right? So, we were getting some of that and so the goal to get started is how do we start moving those stories. We started because we have a CEO of our segment Bill Boas was our president and CEO who says you know we’re here, this is his thing, he wants us to think differently and he’s going to encourage us to think differently. When you challenge him, you say okay I’m thinking differently, oh by the way we think that thing you just told us…

[Kacie Lett] How many times is that said in a meeting? “I’m thinking differently!”

[Cheryl Reed] Not in those words, we have our own language, but he’s lived into it and so having that senior-level advocacy is number one to get started. I will be honest with you, I started on January 16th before the end of February we were global Presidents meeting in Phoenix and I was up there telling a story about something we hadn’t even started creating yet okay, so the storytelling started six weeks into the job and we were talking about something we wanted to start we didn’t even know that we were going to be able to get a place here in Tech Square. We had a person we knew down here we’d call John Wall, John used to work with my current boss and we’d say can we come hang out in your space while we look around and try to find some space for ourselves? We didn’t know what we were going to do, we didn’t know how we were going to do it and yet we were up there telling every leader in the organization what we’re going to do and why we’re going to do it. We had to meet them where they were at and so we tapped into their existing stories, their existing commitment to their customers and their commitment to staying entrepreneurial and say the world around us is changing.

What people expect for us on those two dimensions is changing with that and so we’re going to position ourselves in one of the most vibrant, smart, creative ecosystems and for those of you who hate the term ecosystem, communities right in the country we’re going to position ourselves right there fairly close to a couple of our operating company headquarters and we’re going to by being, here we’re hoping to meet with people like you guys here in the room and learn about that environment that’s changing and what are the best practices in adapting to those changes. Then harvesting those so we can bring them back and say, okay if we want to help our customers be the best that they can be here are some of the things that we need to be aware of in that in the environment.

[Kacie Lett] I love that approach. You often see that in B2C companies people say okay, we must go here. The customers want but in B2B business or B2B operations typically it has the contracts, they’re multi-year, we’ll worry about it when it comes up let’s just know what the competition is doing. I think it says something that people, 29,000 across are saying, we want to understand how we can enable and empower customers to be better. I think if you take the B2B and think about the people at the end of it there’s still people making decisions and investing. This is making you know that I’m buying your product, so I think that’s maybe an asset you had from the onset and that’s pretty fabulous that you have that to spin into something that’s bigger. So, the goal of today and we’ve heard a little bit of background and how we’re getting this started is to talk about Divergent Collaboration for those of you that have been here before, our goal anytime we’re having these chats is something tangible for the group to leave with. Divergent Collaboration by a show of hands of who is or is not familiar with the concept methodology?

[Kacie Lett] So, lots of education today. Maybe you’ll just go into telling us a little bit about the methodology and why you picked this as something that should be in your toolset as you have embarked on this?

[Cheryl Reed] Yes, perhaps it’s one of my favorite tools. It’s a big tool so it’s not something you’d use like once a week every week but that is one of my favorite tools and it’s one of my favorite tools because of the experience that it creates for those who participate in it. The outcome that can sometimes generate and I say sometimes, as most of these innovation processes it’s not a hundred percent. You’re going to get what you’re looking for out of it, it’s best to use when you’ve got a big, hairy audacious problem. It’s a very broad problem and I don’t quite understand how to move forward when you’re stuck on a problem and I need to understand it better and so here’s the starting point and with any good innovation projects what’s the first thing we want to do? We want to understand the problem we’re trying to solve, we’ve got to spend most of our time understanding the problem stay in that problem space and so the Diversion Collaboration process starts with taking a starting problem and it could be a technical problem, it could be a process problem, a business problem and deconstructing that problem in the organization that I was working with when my first became supposed to Diversion Collaboration we brought in a TRIZ Analyst. Anyone familiar with TRIZ as an innovation tool the theoryof incentive problem-solving developed in Russia and so we had a Russian TRIZ Analyst that worked for us, she was our secret weapon. We would have her take the problem statement and deconstruct it into a Functional Analysis and a Holistic Analysis of that problem and break it down into pieces.
Let me give you an example: Customer Engagement so, with customer engagement, always start with, letting people know, making them aware of you. If I want that customer to do something with me they’d have to know I’m here and so that’s one piece I’m breaking that back down the second piece might be as soon as you’re aware of me you’d better be interested, if I don’t get your interest somehow, we’re not going to have an engagement, right? What do I do to get your interest? The third thing now is I want you to come in and engage, I want you to come and ask me about it give me a chance to talk to you about it then I want to do some sort of conversion at the end we want to do business together. A Functional Deconstruction of that customer experience might break it down into those stores for blocks or maybe as our analyst digs into the problem might come up with lots of different models for how to do it and then we’ll look for some parallels across. So now we’ve got our Functional Deconstruction and then you say for each of those different components who else does that, we don’t normally think about, so you might say let’s put aside all the sales people, let’s put aside all the marketing people and say who else gets attention quick, who else lets you know that they’re there very quickly? I’ll start with a two-year-old in the grocery store who’s having a temper tantrum, boom, they get your attention quickly. I think an aberrant teenager in Florida in a particular school the other day, let us know that he was there, quickly right? So, give me some other examples of how people let you know that they’re there?

[Cheryl Reed] What’s that? Right, they pay you for something. Know what, I sat next to a gal on the airplane yesterday I thought it was Beyoncé she came in and she looked extraordinary and elegant she got my attention. I was aware that she was there. We do different things and so getting a diverse group, and this is where the Divergent comes in right every one of those people it’s going to take a different approach to make you aware that they’re there. Sometimes it’s how they dress, sometimes it’s something they do, usually, there’s some sort of shock factor so we find a group of people who take very diverse approaches in letting you know they are there. Identifying what those disciplines are and then we look for people who are good in those disciplines and to bring them together. We find some good two-year-olds so then we go to the next piece of that Functional Analysis and we’ll say okay, who’s good at getting not only making you aware that they’re there but getting you interested in learning more about you. For each of those you might say maybe, a magician who’s doing some magic tricks you can’t just walk by, you have you know, if you’re walking through the streets and there’re buskers along the side of the street which one are you going to turn to and why so? Maybe we should bring in some buskers and so we spend three months up front when we have your problem breaking that problem down.

Understanding the various components of it finding out, figuring out, we’re just mediation around who else does those functions very well. We invite them into a two-and-a-half-day workshop which we call a Divergent Collaboration workshop. We then explore the problem altogether within the workshop within the two days or the various components we have the problem owner there so the critical piece there is that you have a person who’s passionate about that problem. It’s probably keeping them up awake at night and they have the power or the requirement to do something about it in their role, so we call them the problem owner and then our facilitation team typically who was kind enough to put together the cast of characters together. Actually, constructs a two-and-a-half-day experience. We start out by understanding who’s in the room first and foremost which was very important. We then spend time understanding the problem how individuals in the room understand that problem so what’s it looks like through their different lenses and then how they might approach it without them comparing notes with anyone at first and then we do a series of dumb structured interactions. I’ll just call those speed-dating pairwise comparisons where you and I are going to compare notes and I Miss 8k the World’s Greatest according to Cheryl. I’m a psychologist this is how I’m going to take on that challenge and you as an engineer might take on the challenge differently and you as a marketer might take on that challenge differently and so we do these pairwise comparisons and then we instruct people to pull. If you’re telling me about your approach I’m going to keep, I can only ask questions that help me understand better why you want to do that, what are you thinking about, this thing that you said so we instruct people kind of how to listen and to listen with ears that aren’t normally fully open. Here’s one of the nuances we have with Divergent Collaboration when we bring people together we bring people together who are very smart in their own areas, who very accomplished. The problem with bringing together experts is that they’re very accomplished and they get overused, muscle-memory and so because I as an engineer for example, I might be a great engineer and I can only see something through my mental models of being an engineer and so the processes we give people invite them to see the problem through the eyes of a psychologist or a marketer or communications person or sometimes an artist, sometimes the dancer, sometimes it’s an alternative medicine person, sometimes it’s a sports team coach; we bring together a wide variety of different people depending on the problem and give people the opportunity to understand that problem from the different perspectives. I apologize, that was a long answer.

[Kacie Lett] No it’s perfect, we’re jumping right in at any time. It’s great so one of the questions I think that anytime someone is looking at, maybe a new methodology, new process you said is how frequently I use it, so this is not a weekly thing we heard it takes maybe three months after you construct that problem it takes real discipline, focus and that approach so we’re now three months and two days in after your workshop, what’s next? Who owns that next step, is it the facilitator is it the members of the group take ownership? Talk us through that.

[Cheryl Reed] Yes, so as is, the workshop evolves right, so individuals have come from solutions. They’ve done their pairwise comparisons known, we ask them to make observations about what they learned in that process and we kind of create an affinity diagram of those the solution themes. Then we ask the problem owner of those solution themes what’s your reaction to that? Why is this good, why is it not good? We take the group through a comparison of the options that have come forward– what were the shared themes? What were different themes? Then we let the problem owner to pick three or four themes that the group then goes and develops a more depth. So, the group will then spend some very dedicated time around a solution theme and put some meat on the bones and deliver that back up to the problem owner. By the end of the workshop the problem owner typically has anywhere, from a whole long list of just general ideas, to three or four reasonably well-developed ideas for pursuing further. At that point in time the company were working with or the organization we’re working with often wants to go into intellectual property territory because they feel like they’re on to something that they’re developing, and they’ll say thank you very much and shake our hands and say we’ll see you later. I’ve always kind of done it more of as an outside consultant working on it and so following through with them to where they go we’ve only known that these have been successful when they come back and ask us to do another one of these for us for them right or they decide to start doing them on their own and they say can you help us figure out or learn how to do it on their own so it’s a way of getting some pretty well-developed ideas fairly and I say fairly quickly the process the upfront process before you have the diversion collaboration the event is you know it’s like three months of really solid work going into it but then the harvesting session at the end is what you know what ideas did you come up with it you’d like to pursue further do you have enough information on it are there more that you would like to now take into further development processes from there or are you ready just to go lock up with your new product development team and move forward.

[Kacie Lett] Yeah you gave an asterisk at the beginning “sometimes this works”. Can you talk about I think that we all probably experienced the risk tolerance inside a company whether even if they think it’s a great idea it’s just the adoption of a new process or new procedure whatever that might be so that just may be one cultural risk, but I assume that there are potential other risk and potentially other benefits. What are some of those that you know and what are the situations? I know you said big problems that kind of span over maybe a large part of the organization you just talked a little bit about that because I know several folks in this room specifically risk is their biggest barrier and getting the company bought in.

[Cheryl Reed] Yes, so one of the risks is that you really need to bring in people outside your company. If you do work on these things and I’ll give you an example, we did one on human performance augmentation Here’s the scenario you get onto an aircraft – Delta Airlines is here in town so we’ll just say that as an example they were not involved. You all know what’s going on with the aircraft how many data points do you think there are about what the help of that aircraft at any point in time any guesses let’s just say thousands right how many data points do we have on the pilot who’s in charge of flying that are they alive or are they – yeah really? What do you know about Pilate and how often is that a problem? If you’re Lufthansa, you think that we need to know more about our pilot and if they’re suffering from depression or what their cognitive state is. If you’re the Air Force who I used to work for, you know there’s some high demand environments there. You want some data points on the cognitive that so how do you enhance human performance you first must understand what’s their cognitive state and how alert are they and how ready are they to take on a high demand environment and then you need to know how to augment it. Okay, so when we put this one together we asked who else that’s human performance and we came up with a symphony orchestra conductor right I’m pulling all these parts together let’s do that we brought in a robotic surgeon, robotic surgeon augments his performance using the robots we brought in sports team coaches we brought in a guy who worked with crime investigation teams who were high stress and special operations guys and he did yoga with them so you augment their performance by helping them get more mindful and more managed so we talk to a lot of different people that brought that human performance in different ways and we brought them together. Now, so that’s the scenario what problems does this arise sometimes the problem owners like seriously I’m supposed to listen to this yoga instructor I’m the scientist and so you deal a lot with egos they’re not invented here right so I’m a scientist I know our field I know our industry whywould you bring me a symphony orchestra conductor to do this and so the danger is you could start losing credibility if you don’t couch it accurately or well and you must couch it well by making sure you’re bringing in people who are really good at what they do and then one of the things that we were talking about is putting together bios of all the people in the room beforehand so that when everyone comes into the room they could see a face and a name and a reputation of the person who’s there so they realized okay maybe you’re an artist and maybe you don’t know anything about flying an airplane but we have senior art help you know what are some of your successes and giving people the opportunity to articulate those so is that a problem yes the if you’ve got a reputation for being that crazy innovation person and you don’t give this right this could, so that’s one of the dangers that we run into.

[Kacie Lett] Do you see this as a tool that folks you know often innovation acts as a shared service? It’s two-fold sometimes it’s a shared service that within the company a small group of kind of special Aps individuals that are tapped to come in and help us do business better think differently whatever that charge might be or their other groups that they run the operation right they ideate, they create, they launch, they’re responsible for it all and we see a sliding scale of that. Is this a tool, you mentioned it from a perspective of coming as an external perspective as a consultant and being able to do that what are some of the you see it also within the company and maybe there’s even people here in the room I don’t know if people have used this as a mechanism inside the company that we might even hear examples because I think there are some nuances of that of how do you that internal credibility not maybe being the crazy innovation person and sometimes the external consultant has the permission maybe to be a little bit more of that.

[Cheryl Reed] So not quite sure how to answer that question um I think the general principles can be applied across all settings right the general principles are every one of us who has any expertise whatsoever because of that expertise are going to be limited in the number of ways we could see any problem we, therefore, develop our own immunities to both seeing and changing our way of understanding things okay I’m guilty of seeing everything for the through the lens of human behaviour right and so when things break I see the human behaviour piece of it all. Someone else is going to say no it’s just engineer, or it was communicated bad or it was right so there’s something else going on and so those principles I think are pervasive in can you don’t need any special expertise to do it you don’t need a special team you don’t need a special organization to do that. Using the full up process that, that we had labeled diversion collaboration and I’ve got a white paper that was put together by Dr. Barth Bartholomay who is my colleague who worked on this deathful process you need a designated team to do that? That’s very hard to just decide you’re going to do one day. Whether it’s a designated team inside the organization or it’s a group that you reach out reach out and bring in to help you I don’t think that matters so much actually I think the important pieces so and you’re going to do that full up effort that you recognize that if you bring together the same players that always work on that problem you’re going to get the same outcome the results you’re probably going be disappointed you.

[Kacie Lett] Great, I want to take a minute just to hear from the group if anybody has used this methodology. This process I think would be great to hear it. Do have any questions?

[Ken Durand] If you do have a question would you let me get to you with a microphone so that your question can be heard on the live stream.

[Audience Question] Sorry, I have used this action in the past, but you know the burdens always put back into B and how are we measuring success. You mentioned they’re coming back to us for another one of these but how else I mean you know what other I’ll say those measurements are how do you understand what you’re doing is successful?

[Cheryl Reed] Yes, sometimes I, whether they come back and sometimes it’s the number of ideas that they’ve told so a lot of times they’ll say we’re going into interest’s electro property zone thank you very much see you later. We’re able to say can you at least tell us how many of the ideas that came out of there that you feel are worth pursuing so that that’s one another angle is what kind of resources will your company be investing in those that you do pursue. So, that’s another sense of importance to them and then a third I think are some specific examples where we did know the outcomes and so in that situation I’ll just talk about one specific example. We were working with a group that was stuck on how do you certify autonomous systems okay so a lot of these cars let’s just take our Thomas car that wasn’t the scenario but we can you all have our NDA’s right, so if you have an autonomous car a regular car we need to certify that every time you turn the wheel a certain direction it has a certain response right so before I’m going to sell it to you I’ve got certified all the inputs equal the right outputs. Now when it’s going to make all those decisions for itself and there’s no human inputs how I certify that and there’s a problem. A lot of companies where a lot of organizations were struggling with and so through this process they were able to it was interesting because they brought in a lot of experts and different things but the person who kind of got the grand aha that they ran forward with was someone whose 16-year-old was just learning to drive. See this new angle and they said hold on the way we do it today is we certify the car and we license the driver why aren’t we certifying whatever it is and licensing the autonomy. We should license only the neural network that we’re creating so to make sure that it understands such the full range of circumstances, but you can’t I mean you can’t certify it for every possible scenario it’s impossible. I’ll never get an autonomous car on the streets doing that way so they finally got to this point of how do I license the autonomy and that was one of the big outcomes and so to your point it’s really hard to say they would never have come up with that without this scenario but in this scenario they did that was one thing and they sense of move forward with that and come up with approaches to this particular group we were working with to licensing the autonomy for certain applications in those crafts. Does that help you any at all?

[Audience Question] I spend a lot of time in product innovation it was really about their always measured off outcome great you come up with a million ideas, how do you necessarily monetize that?

[Cheryl Reed] I’ll also say that for the mine spark here in our first couple of years one of the things that we’re being allowed to measure as a measure of success is simply activity. That’s not a long-term thing that’s sustainable but at least in the first year or two how many people are we engaging with? How many ideas are coming out of here? How many connections have we made? We’re really in the first couple years as we get started we’re just trying to measure some momentum rather than outcomes and but at the same time we’re trying to jump into that challenge that you all have been struggling with for a while and how do you measure those outcomes.

[Audience Question] Let me ask a different question. How you work with tools or approaches, do you have to work with the problem owner and deciding to select a broader solution set, I’m curious?

[Cheryl Reed] Yes, so usually we must use tools that they haven’t seen before or else we’re not going to get your attention and the problem owner tends to be someone who’s been so immersed in a problem for so long they’re rated threw their hands up. So a couple of tools, one that I’ve really grown fallen in love with is our graphic innovation artist right and so we will sit down with the problem owner and have the graphic innovation artists create a visual representation of that problem and 99% of the time that first representation is wrong and then the person says no that’s not what I mean at all let’s do it this way. What I really meant to say was thing else and it’s in the negotiation of that visual representation that we get a shared understanding of how that expert sees their problems so that’s one tool the other tool is mention the TRIZ Analyst in how the trace analyst breaks down that problem almost a hundred percent of the time so a very large amount of the time when that analysis happens, and we bring that back to the problem owner in that process there we get a little bit I never thought of it through from that perspective before. Usually, there’s a little bit of stretch at that point time when we say we mushy consult a firework expert on this problem or a magician or a mediator on this problem. So, usually there’s the house or something that kind of gets their attention that allows them to see it from a perspective they hadn’t and but it has to be something where they start seeing value in it. One of my favourites was we had someone come in and say we need a better way of getting an understanding of the full skill sets of all the reservists in the Air Force for example right so a reservist all have their job title okay we know what their job title is but every person who comes in also has a full career outside and so if we knew what they all were then we could utilize them more efficiently when they’re on duty. That was going require some sort of huge databasing effort and as soon as you create the database it’s dead right so the metaphor trees analysts came up with is instead of pushing them to go fill out all this information than analysing the information we needed to put something in the middle that would attract them and so as she painted this picture she said it’s like ants around a delicious cookie and you put the cookie out in the middle and all the ants will come flocking to it. So how do you create that where they all want to and that metaphor just got their attention and then we could play off that metaphor so metaphors visual representations breaking down the problem in allowing people to see it from different directions is usually how we engage the problem owner to not only get clear about their problem but then to have a shared understanding that we that we really understand the worst mistake ever made was assuming we understood the problem and pursuing that problem and then realizing not until the very end where the customers the problem owner said and that wasn’t really my problem and you know you’re like did you wait till now to tell us but it’s it is this problem of the shared understanding.

[Audience Question] If you note if you want to see some examples of that kind of innovation illustration type stuff there’s a couple over the couch up in the front on your way out you can see a little bit of that sort of thing.

[Audience Question] Cheryl, just a quick question, your thoughts on how this would technique scale, so you know problems and ideas come in all shapes and sizes small large new business spin-offs things like that is there any guidance on sort of when you apply the technique or when you use something else for that?

[Cheryl Reed] Yes so, I think the term that was used in Emerson for a while was the big hairy audacious problem was one a term that was used yeah so when there’s a big hairy audacious problem is kind of when you would want to do it and one process says you identify a series of sub-problems that then you would pursue using other related techniques. I start seeing it on a continuum rather than as being different to very diverse groups of people being brought together to very homogeneous groups of people coming together well we’ve got a very specific technical problem that there’s a lot known about but we’re just kind of stuck on a little glitch it’s almost a more homogeneous group of people with deep expertise and then when it’s kind of a broader problem or something that were really stuck in on we would use the more divergent approach. The question for each stage of it is how much time you want us to spend breaking down the problem or looking for other experts or collaborating with other people we do know that by doing due diligence upfront and getting the right people around the table it makes the difference.

[Kacie Lett] There is a question up here as well.

[Audience Question] I’m trying to work backwards and think about how much activity you’re expected to generate in your early years so like you have 30,000 employees and maybe there’s ten businesses and maybe each business has five sasquatch problems a year like what do you what is your expectation of workload versus the business that’s kind of all gone and said yes, we’re going invest in this?

[Cheryl Reed] Right, so our first year was started before this infrastructure is built let me back up I think of this on five levels culture strategy infrastructure processes and tools. So we started out by telling a lot of the stories to start shaping the culture but this is kind of all cyclical okay so now we’ve put the space in place we’ve got a couple of people on board year one before we while we were building this can and I did a lot of teaching so to speak where we went out to the different operating companies and we and let me get clear right now we’re supporting four operating companies with in Dover that are all in the refrigeration of food equipment segments we don’t say no to our other operating companies but we’re put here for the purposes of those of our segments right now. So, we started out with this kind of an orientation of the leadership teams you know by the way our leadership has put it into people’s incentive plans to do some innovation events. I think to the tune of three per operating company president per year right so if they bring their leadership team in here and we do that we did a design thinking piece with a group with one of our leadership teams a couple of weeks ago that can then bring in others. So how much can we do with three of us not a heck of a lot, but we can get people talking about it and then we’re trying to use some tools like having catalysts inside the organizations who join us for the training who can then go out into their operating companies and help get some movement going inside the companies. You know we can’t do five of these Divergent Collaborations in a year with three of us that’s not going to happen we’ve put a couple of governance structures in place that will help we have an innovation council that has a representative from each of the operating companies that meet with Ken and I and Charles once a month and we’re using that group to kind of percolate up what are the big technical challenges each one’s having. where are the overlaps? What are the process challenges everyone’s having? What are the overlaps we’re going to so are kind of getting our cadence going as we’re hoping to host a series of four or five innovation summits or the year which will kind of look at specific challenges that are held by more than one operating company we share best practices? We bring in a few experts so that’s kind of our getting started so culture strategy infrastructure processes and tools so we’re trying to reach so the strategy is to kind of leverage the infrastructure that we that’s already in place plus us the strategy is to use this to create this culture of thinking differently and then the tools you know you could look at the Dorgan collaboration and these are their collaborative innovation tools in the summits that would – – as part of that strategy so yeah

[Kacie Lett] We are rounding out I think on time to be additional question or two.

[Audience Question] So, when you’re talking about your divergent teams that you’re bringing in I’m hearing you know a lot of very abstract people the yoga teacher, the coach and all that kind of stuff. So, let’s take if you’re specifically focused on refrigeration for example do you find it to be a benefit or a hindrance to also have maybe one of your product development engineers in the room at the same time?

[Cheryl Reed] Yes, clears mud our greatest strengths our greatest weaknesses and so if we bring in our best you know new product engineer and they are really focused on what they already know they can shut down the whole team we’re fast. So, we use this role that we call observer and we say you are welcome but you’re not welcome to talk so we and sometimes it’s a very much a personality thing I think in some of these will sit down with the leaders and say okay of all the people that you know on this from your company that are coming what are their personalities. Are they curious are they learners it’s real important to at least know the personalities of the people that are coming in. I found this particularly with academics too so a lot of let’s just put it put it on the table people who make a big difference in the world usually a big ego and it’s their big egos that allow them to make that difference in some ways right and you’re bringing all these people into the room together. So, their egos are important parts of who they are, you can’t diminish those you can right, but you can’t let them commandeer it because then it becomes an educational session on what’s inside their head and the real goal is to get the very best out of what each person in the room has to offer put it into the public space. Then let everyone chew on what happens at those collisions right between what Blake knows what Cheryl knows you know what case he knows what ken knows you know what’s what happens at the intersection of that and that’s where the magic happens so yeah if you get someone who’s really good at what they do you’ve got to get them into the right space before they can become effective in that or they can be derail you really fast.

[Kacie Lett] Excellent, please a huge round of applause for Cheryl. Thank you!

[Cheryl Reed] So, I just want to say you know this is my first EES I’ve been to hopefully the first of many and I’m looking forward to everyone else kind of being in this chair and me getting a chance to learn from you and would love follow-up conversations if you’re interested in learning more or interested in sharing more about what you’re doing that’s kind of in related spaces so thanks for coming in and sharing your space with us.



Jen is a bridge between clients and 352 teams—helping to drive client value while ensuring an amazing experience. She meets with clients to deeply understand their overarching challenges and needs and then activates the right 352 team members with the right set of skills, expertise and insights to produce the best results.

A nurturer at heart, she knows how to bring people together to propel innovation, growth and digital development. Recognizing how great 352 does innovation attracted her to the company. She’s worked with several well-known brands to launch and unveil new products. She spent six years working with Coca-Cola on a variety of marketing and branding initiatives and helped Kimberly-Clark reinvent Kleenex tissues by shifting its association with sickness to becoming a symbol of care. She also worked with Verisign to globally reposition four of their top level domains including .com and .net.

She credits her background in theater and English degree from Wofford College for giving her passion and expertise for telling stories that capture humanity—and guiding clients on how to engage an audience through storytelling.

When not working, Jen enjoys spending time with her husband and their dog, Chianti, and attending Atlanta United FC soccer games.