K2 at Interop: How to Foster a Culture of Innovation

K2 at Interop: How to Foster a Culture of Innovation

Adriaan van Wyk, the CEO at K2, was a recent guest on the TechnologyAdvice Expert Interview Series to share a preview of K2's presentation at this year’s Interop Las Vegas. The series, which is hosted by TechnologyAdvice’s Clark Buckner, explores a variety of business and technology landscapes through conversations with industry thought leaders.

Wyk joined Buckner to discuss how to facilitate a culture of innovation within your company to drive a unique competitive advantage in your industry.

TECHNOLOGYADVICE: Jennifer “JJ” Jessup, the General Manager of Interop Las Vegas, recently shared 10 Insider Tips for Attending Tech Conferences like Interop with us. During Interop, attendees can see innovation as it happens, including on the expo floor, during the different sessions, and between scheduled activities. Your session at Interop is Embracing the Bring-Your-Own-App Phenomenon, what drew you to this event as a sponsor?

Adriaan van Wyk: It's an event that we've been following for a while. It certainly is exciting. It touches on many of the topics and speaks to audiences we think are incredibly important for the future. And, we're excited to be involved in this for the first time. We have a session that I'm going to present at the event, itself, which is about “Build Your Own X”, where X is the variable, and it sort of plays off the fact that we're okay to have a culture of allowing people to ultimately build their own applications.

But it's not so much the culture of building applications. It really steps back from that and says, what does the modern age - and modern times - look like for young people who want to innovate and want to be able to capture the energy around them, and do things on demand?

How do they get their hands on the resources? How do companies enable them to really shape the world around them in a way that they can maximize their own potential, as well as the potential of the people they work with, or the people they work for? And that's going to be the topic of the conversation, itself.

We're going to talk about some hypothetical scenarios and some of the amazing things that's happening - both in technology as well as in other areas such as education, within the economy itself, and a lot of things that impact the young people's ability to shape their future. So it's going to be exciting and we're looking forward to it. Ultimately, it will come back to how we used that mindset within our own company to make our customers successful.

TA: What challenges do you think that cultural shift happening inside organizations has been creating?

Adriaan van Wyk: Typically what happens with these innovative paradigm changes within organizations is that you really have to empower people to embrace this. In order to empower people, you need to give them accessibility to things that previously might not have been as accessible to us as it is today, or as it needs to be.

People need access to information.

They need to be able to use that information in innovative ways. They might want to move faster than what companies would historically geared for or were comfortable with.

Ultimately, if you don't do that - if you don't adapt your organization itself through policies and procedures and information that becomes available and creating the right tools and the right atmosphere for your people to innovate - your company won't keep pace with these changing paradigms and miss out on the opportunities that it creates.

We talk about running your business at the speed of your people. It's incredible what people are capable of if you give them the freedom to innovate.

But with that freedom, how do you protect the business? How do you protect that information? And those create some very interesting dynamics for businesses to think about. As they want to empower this sort of new generation of people that's going to fuel their future.

TA: What do you think is a best practice to create a more agile work environment? How do you keep up with all the new creations that are popping up within a company?

Adriaan van Wyk: I think that the most important starting point is actually where we remove technology completely off of the table. And if you were to put people in front of a white board and say, "Solve a problem." And you step away from that, and you say, "What would the value be to the business if I could take this solution that exists on this white board right now, and with the snap of my finger turn it into reality?"

Just imagine what that will do for your company.

That second part really is the enablement piece that K2 does, that we allow for customers, but that first part - that first step that you have to take to allow your people to innovate like that - it's probably the biggest step of them all, and it's probably the one thing that we see companies are starting to move towards. Once that potential is unlocked, it really becomes a very fascinating dynamic that exists with these organizations.

Listen to the entire show above in order to hear our full conversation, or download the show to listen later. You can subscribe to the TA Expert Interview Series via Soundcloud, in order to get alerts about new episodes.

This podcast was created and published by TechnologyAdvice. Interview conducted by Clark Buckner.