March 21 Member Update

The Innovation Edge


Tuesday, May 23 – IRI Annual Conference

How do we foster that kind of culture in between off-sites and Zoom cocktails?

Keynote Speaker spotlight: Digital Workplace Expert and Author of Remote, Inc. Alexandra Samuel

The most successful organizations will embrace the new hybrid model of work as a way to renew their organizational culture, fuel effective collaboration and attract the most talented employees. But how do we foster that kind of culture in between off-sites and Zoom cocktails? How do we strengthen collaboration without back-to-back video calls? And how do we re-establish the office as a core part of our working rhythms, when so many employees are cozily remote? The key is to shift how managers and employees think about flexibility in this new world of work. Flexibility isn’t about picking your days in the office, or how often you come in. Real flexibility is about aligning your team to make the most of their face-to-face time, so that they have more focus and flexibility on their days at home. That’s the kind of flexibility that comes from understanding how to combine office and remote time in a way that makes the most of each setting.

The most successful hybrid employees adopt a “business-of-one” approach, meaning that they take on the responsibility and accountability of a small business owner. They define their work in terms of goals and deliverables instead of by the eight-hour workday; embrace a rhythm of “punctuated collaboration” that uses structured check-ins to complement solo work; and use the focus of their at-home days to deliver even stronger results. This session will help professionals to organize their priorities, communicate effectively, structure online meetings, and maintain a healthy work-life balance in the context of hybrid work.


A regular contributor to The Wall Street JournalThe Harvard Business Review, CBC, and JSTOR Daily, Alexandra Samuel is a data journalist who specializes in management, hybrid work, and tech culture. As the data journalist for the annual Forbes list of the World’s Most Influential CMOs, she has a deep understanding of how top brands and executives navigate digital transformation and the realignment of employee and customer experience in a hybrid world. She works regularly with companies like Google, Discovery, and Microsoft on reports and workshops that address the biggest challenges in digital business. She holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Harvard University, where her dissertation was the first comprehensive study of hacktivism (politically motivated computer hacking). While at Harvard, Alexandra researched the impact of technology on social capital for Robert Putnam’s groundbreaking book, Bowling Alone

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Shaping Innovation Leaders!

This executive management program is hosted by the IRI in partnership with Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. The Kellogg School is considered the best business school in the world when it comes to developing leadership and this course takes the best of the best to train your high potentials as leaders, while teaching them how to communicate and work with other business functions at your company. It’s like a “mini-MBA” program for rising stars in the innovation world. 

  • Team members acquire the skills needed to successfully manage large projects.
  • They learn the same vocabulary, needs and constraints as other “MBAs” in the organization.
  • More new products make it to market because my managers learn how to communicate across the organization.
  • The course brings together an impressive group of up-and-coming innovators to exchange ideas and gain fresh perspective. The networks formed with peers last a lifetime.
  • Kellogg’s top-notch instructors cover topics ranging from marketing, legal, production, finance and more.


It challenges us as leaders to think differently about what conversations we need to have, levels of influence, how it affects our strategy, approaches, and cost…It enhances our strengths and capabilities as leaders.” —Jacqueline Kiple, John Deere 


I highly recommend this program. It has really helped me raise my level of strategy as I think about business and how it relates to R&D…The faculty are top notch. It gives you all the business acumen you need.”—Paola Appendini, Mars Inc.


I came away with some really great skills that will help me ask better questions with finance, marketing and HR partners.”—Frank Rapacki, Campbell Soup Company

Enroll Today

Hurry to reserve one of the few remaining spaces for Shaping Innovation Leaders before they’re gone. Early-bird pricing ends on Wednesday, don’t wait!

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Awards Program

IRI Awards Program Debuts New Awards in 2023 –Nomination Forms Now Available Online

IRI will present three new awards categories at the IRI Annual Conference. Nominations for the 2023 awards will be accepted through March 27. Five of the six IRI Awards categories have open nominations. Visit our website to learn more about the IRI Awards and download a nomination form.

New Awards:

  • The IRI Corporate Excellence Award (new!) will be presented to five IRI member companies for outstanding achievement and contributions to industry and society in the following categories: culture, corporate citizenship, scientific breakthroughs, digital and technological innovation, and transformative partnerships.
  • IRI Innovation Award (new!) honors an individual or team within an IRI member company for leadership and contributions to the field of innovation. 
  • Women in Technology and Innovation Leadership Award (new!)
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March 22, 1pm – 5pm EST

IRI TRACK Workshop: The Corporate Environmental Sustainability Journey

The purpose of this course is for the participants to understand what CSR (corporate social responsibility – specifically the environmental aspect) is, why it’s important and how it has evolved over the last decade. Additionally, we will present the financial advantage of companies that embrace environmental sustainability and how to incorporate the principles and tools into your company processes

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March 29, 1pm – 5pm EST

IRI Annual Conference

IRI TRACK Workshop: Incubating Strategic Opportunities: Failure Modes and Methods to Overcome them

The Lean Startup methods and associated tools have become widely adopted for managing high uncertainty projects. Use of the Business Model canvas, Minimum Viable Product, field interviews and other practices designed for the start-up context have gained widespread popularity in mature companies due to their focus on quick experiments, fast learning and focus on the technological, market and business model development requirements to support a potentially major innovation opportunity.

The corporate environment, however, differs from that of the startup, in that an organization’s divisional structure, budget cycles, and other established norms and routines already exist. These present challenges and barriers to corporate venture and other strategic innovation teams, which the lean start up methods do not address. In this workshop we offer two methods to help innovation teams in mature

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March 27, noon EST

The Human Side of Technology: Leading People Through Digital Transformation – PILOT Project Update

This project is focused on creating insights related to the human side of digital transformation, learn more about it here. In this webinar, they will focus on how companies can prepare for cultural changes associated with digital transformation.

To receive a calendar invitation, contact Matt Dorocak.

IRI PILOT Research Grant

IRI is calling for applications for the IRI Funding Scheme – a small grant (up to $3k) to conduct a research project with us and our members. IRI’s goal is to get subject matter experts working with our members on well thought out, organized projects that will address the top challenges our members face. There will be a limited number of projects funded this year, and priority will be given to projects that focus on our hot topics list. The submission deadline for the application is April 17. The proposal application, hot topics list, and evaluation criteria are all available on our website. Please contact Matt Dorocak with any questions regarding the program.

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