The Whiteboard

Broadening our Concept of Innovation

Innovation is a word we frequently hear from technology companies. But what does it really mean, and how can we foster it throughout our organizations?

VMware prides itself on creating a culture of innovation by inviting people from any part of the organization to surface their ideas for new features, product enhancements, or process improvements. We also have several programs designed to explicitly foster innovation (such as xLabs, which acts as an internal incubator, our Accelerated Co-innovation Engineering (ACE) team, Flings, and many others).

During our 20+ years as a company, VMware has delivered some truly disruptive innovations. Naturally, our engineers are searching for the “next big thing” — the next killer innovation that will disrupt the industry. While this is certainly a goal of ours, I also want to make sure that we as a company are thinking more broadly about innovation. Innovation is not just about awesome features — it’s also about ensuring our customers can seamlessly adopt and consume those features.

There are many examples here. Improvements in lifecycle management, making it easier for customers to deploy and upgrade our products and services. Improvements in security and compliance, making it easier for customers to have secure and compliant environments. Improvements in sustainability, making our products and services more energy-efficient and potentially making carbon use a first-class concept. These are all great examples of innovation that support and augment features, making them better.

In my last two blogs, I talked about the concepts of product-led growth and platform thinking. These concepts have the potential to be transformative for customers’ experience of our products and services. However, to realize them, we’re going to have to transform our own thinking about innovation and begin driving valuable new innovations in both of those areas.

These three mindsets — product-led growth, platform thinking, and broadening our concept of innovation — are a foundation for our approach to innovation. Used collectively, they’ll act as a loadstar on VMware’s path to becoming a transformational multi-cloud, modern app SaaS company.

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