RSA Conference 2017 - What Does Successful Innovation Look Like?

By Sean Martin, CISSP

To win the battle against cybercrime, the industry needs continuous, successful innovation. Cybercriminals are seemingly innovating better and faster than academia and commercial entities. Some appear to even innovate better than (or behalf of?) government entities.

So, what does this mean for the hardware, software, and service providers selling their wares at this year's RSA Conference? What does it mean for the 10's of thousands of attendees looking at these wares? In this blog post on the RSA Conference site, I explore this topic of innovation:

  • What it means for a company to be innovative
  • What successful innovation looks like
  • What false innovation looks like

Once you read that post, come back here to get more to the point with a few tips to make true innovation more tangible.

The following is a collection of tips consolidated through the experiences of ITSPmagazine’s strategic advisors as contributors to this post:

  1. Pick a champion that recognizes the importance of innovation and can rally people to initiate and follow through on innovation, even when it gets tough.
  2. Establish an innovative culture that becomes part of the entire organization and is supported up-and-down the ranks. The culture must not penalize ambient failures; it must provide for a safe environment for non-critical failures to be experienced.
  3. Empower the team by leveraging executives to support the drive for innovation and the acceptance of failure. Innovation should start with the CEO, CIO, CSO and the CFO. The next level of innovation comes from the technical teams, the researchers and the engineers as well as the IT department—which are essentially the builders and implementers of the technology and the processes. The third function might be a bit surprising—the risk and legal teams. Many innovations require identifying additional risks that need to be reviewed and accepted by the organization.
  4. Establish a process by enabling your teams to allocate time to brainstorming and sharing their ideas with research and development teams. Also compensate your employees for new ideas!
  5. Zoom out and zoom in to evaluate innovations. Zooming out enables you to look at the 10-20 year horizon to see where the market/industry is going. Zooming in allows you to determine the two or three initiatives that will generate the highest impact to expedite the business in the next 6-12 months, while taking into account the zoom-out trajectory. A company that can successfully do both is a company that can innovate.

I would also like to thank ITSPmagazine's strategic advisors for their support and contribution to this article.

Be sure to read Tim's post about not forgetting the new kids on the block. It's the perfect companion to this topic.

Be sure to follow all of our RSA Conference News and Coverage as well.

Hopefully we'll get a chance to meet somewhere near the Moscone this week!