In the past, great innovators such as Alexander Graham Bell and Marie Curie achieved remarkable success through their genius and resourcefulness.
However, in today’s world, innovation and technological advancements are predominantly driven by collaborative efforts at scale. While individual brilliance continues to shine, the core of most – if not all – breakthroughs lies in collaborative innovation. In fact, many businesses within the technology industry often turn to their own people, partners, customers and even each other in order to provide them with a never-ending supply of ideas and inspiration.
In his recent blog on the topic of innovation, Joe Baguley, Vice President and CTO, EMEA, highlighted that VMware has always been and always hopes to be a “disruptive innovator, a co-innovator with our partners, and a sustainable innovator.” And while investments such as VMware’s new R&D office in Dublin are crucial to driving local innovation and greater diversity in the software industry, it’s equally important to cultivate an environment in which ideas can thrive and develop.
We spoke to several VMware executives across EMEA about how they foster a collaborative environment and how VMware’s unique culture of innovation enables it to maintain a spot among some of the most innovative companies within the tech sector.
For Diana Stefanova, Vice President of Regional Communities Strategy and Bulgaria site leader, creating a safe environment in which failure is celebrated is crucial to encouraging collaboration as well as a free-flowing stream of ideas. “Psychological safety within an organisation is an important prerequisite for allowing people to experiment, be creative and dream big,” she shares.
Andrei Grigoriev, Vice President of Engineering, OCTO Ireland and Dublin site leader, believes that ensuring that innovation leads to meaningful results is of utmost importance. “The novelty aspect itself is not enough, it needs to bring a positive change,” he mentions. Ian Jansen Van Rensburg, Director of Solution Engineering, agrees with Andrei, adding: “Positive change for individuals is the primary driver of innovation.”
Read on to hear more from Diana, Ian and Andrei.
Diana Stefanova, Vice President of Regional Communities Strategy and Bulgaria site leader
Diana Stefanova, Vice President, Regional Communities Strategy at VMware Bulgaria and Bulgaria site leader shared that VMware’s innovative spirit is what has kept her in the company for 15 years. “Innovation has always defined our culture at VMware – starting with a vision of achieving what was seemingly impossible to where we are today,” she said. “Challenging the status quo is part of our DNA. We remain focused on innovating in everything that we do – products, technologies, people, processes.”
“At VMware, we encourage collaboration. Innovation is not a solo effort, but rather a result of different minds working in synergy to solve a meaningful problem. As part of this, we work hard to build trust and celebrate failure – in fact, Albert Einstein’s famous quote “Failure is success in progress” resonates with us all. Psychological safety within an organisation is an important prerequisite for allowing people to experiment, be creative and dream big.”
“We make a conscious effort to invest in diversity. Diversity means bringing different experiences and perspectives to the table, and this is how new ideas and innovative solutions are born. We’re also focused on developing a sustainable intrapreneurship ecosystem, with the right mix of enablement programs, resources, and opportunities like RADIO (Research & Development Innovation Offsite), Global Borathons, xLabs and more to cover the entire journey from the birth of an idea to its realization.”
Ian Jansen Van Rensburg, Director of Solution Engineering
To Ian Jansen Van Rensburg, Director, Solution Engineering at VMware South Africa, the concept of innovation means identifying new opportunities, developing new methods, and taking creative, original approaches to solving problems in order to meet the changing demands of the market or society. “In the 1990s, there was no expectation that people would be able to communicate digitally at the touch of a button. Yet we have changed the way we live our lives and the way we interact with one another.”
“There are many great examples of innovation that immediately come to mind,” shared Ian. “Autonomous vehicles, blockchain technology, Space X’s reusable rockets, the Cloud, 5G technology and the Tesla Model S electric luxury car… Put simply, innovation means new ideas, products, services, processes or technologies that add value. Positive change for individuals is the primary driver of innovation.”
Andrei Grigoriev, Vice President of Engineering, OCTO Ireland and Dublin site leader
Much like Ian, Andrei Grigoriev, Vice President, Engineering, OCTO Ireland and Dublin site leader, agrees that innovation should involve doing something meaningful that delivers a tangible impact. “The novelty aspect itself is not enough, it needs to bring a positive change.”
“At the Office of the CTO and VMware Platform Services (OCTO VPS), we build and run foundational platform capabilities that enable our internal developers and our customers to innovate,” he shared. “Collectively, we are thought leaders that are shaping the future of the industry.”
“This means that everyone of us is a leader, whether it is about technology, products or teams. It also means that as leaders, we have extended responsibilities and accountability. Platform thinking is essential – we must think of everything we do as of a connected component in a larger context. Every time we write a line of code, we should understand that it impacts a lot more than just that software’s latest release.”