The following endorsements provide a sample of how Breakthrough Innovation Advisors has helped clients advance their Breakthrough Innovation capabilities.
Nancy Dawes (Research Fellow and Victor Mills Society, Procter & Gamble)
Bruce Vojak has worked extensively with Procter and Gamble (P&G), translating his Breakthrough Innovation insights into actionable training and thought-leadership since 2007.
One of the roles of members of P&G Victor Mills Society (P&G’s formal recognition of Serial Innovators) is to identify and develop future innovators, as true Breakthrough Innovators are few and far between. As one of ~15 members of the Victor Mills Society, I personally experienced how Bruce’s research and insights on Breakthrough Innovation influenced R&D at P&G in multiple ways, including:
– Inspired the creation of a year-long class taught by VMS “professors” to hand-selected young innovators, taught across US/Europe/Asia. The backbone of the course is material delineated in their book; Bruce is often a featured presenter as he is knowledgeable and articulate about the content, examples, and application to P&G. This class is consistently highly rated and has a strong track record of promoted Technologist-track individuals as graduates.
– Through ongoing consultation on innovation Bruce’s research articulated the importance of “innovators recognizing innovators,” which directly led to increased involvement of technologists in interviewing/recruiting and modification of P&G’s interview process/questions to emphasize innovator skills.
– Bruce’s Epistemology of Innovation essays were circulated and read throughout our R&D organization and provided many useful references and sound-bites to reinforce key points; and our connections with Bruce (and Ray Price, his co-author) led to further studies internal to P&G on other topics.
Having worked collaboratively with Bruce Vojak for many years, I can attest to his collaborative work style, his curiosity, his ability to link subject matter across disciplines, and his ability to construct useful visual models that help explain complicated material.
For more than 175 years, innovation has been in P&G’s DNA. It’s how P&G drives growth, prevents the commoditization of categories, reduces costs and delivers value. P&G believes that innovation starts with the consumer. P&G technical staff gain insights into consumer’s everyday lives so they can combine “what’s needed” with “what’s possible.”
Steve McShane (Founder and CEO, Midtronics)
I first met Bruce Vojak at a 2006 meeting where Bruce was making a presentation to the group of CEOs on the subject of Breakthrough Innovation based on research he was doing in preparation for the publication of his Serial Innovators book. I was intrigued by his insight on the subject since my company has grown over the last thirty years based on continuous development of new product categories. After that meeting my CTO and I got to know him better, we invited Bruce to address our leadership team, and in 2008 Bruce accepted my invitation to take a position on our board of directors.
Our board has been made up of CEOs and industry leaders with backgrounds in marketing, manufacturing, finance and engineering, and I felt that Bruce could enhance our board and give us the opportunity to tune in to his insight on innovation, a subject very dear to our mission as a company. Bruce has provided a voice for research and development, engineering and design excellence. He also serves as a resource that comprehends major global changes that are taking place in the industries we serve. As he learned our business he has become more insightful, persuasive and supportive of our efforts to provide creative new solutions to customer needs. He has added value to our board discussions as a result of his knowledge of industry trends and his inquisitive style. He has gained the respect of his colleagues on the board and is able to get the best of our executive staff by asking questions that lead to fruitful discussions of issues related to our technology advances and continuous improvement of our product designs.
We have also called on Bruce to make presentations to groups of managers of engineering, marketing and sales, reinforcing our commitment to innovation, helping us to recognize how we can encourage curiosity and creativity, and how we can avoid the disincentives recognized in his book that are pervasive, especially in many large company cultures. His skilled facilitation and thorough mastery of the subject matter has had a lasting effect on our team’s commitment to growth through continuous improvement.
Bruce has helped us to institutionalize our cultural commitment to innovation as our mission and to recognize that encouragement of risk taking and willingness to allow failure encourages curiosity and creativity that have become the hallmarks of our company. Bruce is highly engaged and committed to the success of our company and we are proud to have him on our board. His fellow board members as well as our executive team value his knowledge of how engineering leadership can help solve challenges in the world of battery management, as the importance of energy storage increases with the world’s extensive reliance vehicle electrification, cellular communication and data centers that power the internet.
I highly recommend Bruce Vojak.
Focused entirely on Advancing Battery Management, Midtronics was recognized in 2014 as the most inventive company in the Chicago area, according to Crain’s Chicago Business. More importantly, their inventions place them in a global leadership position in battery management for the automotive, telecommunications and stationary power markets.
John Veleris (Chairman and Partner, JVA Partners)
Bruce Vojak has been a member of our strategic advisory board and a trusted advisor of our advanced technology and product innovation leadership team since 2014. Bruce’s knowledge and experience have been strategic assets in a major IoT (Internet of Things) investment initiative of our group.
Specifically, as a leading authority on the subject matter, he has assisted our group in broadening and accelerating our acquisition of knowledge and best practices pertaining to Breakthrough Innovation. His people and relationship-building skills earned the trust and respect of our team in short order, and helped us develop and validate learning and development objectives.
Bruce’s experience, professional network, and relationships with business and university alliances, partnerships, and experts have helped us leverage internal and external resources more effectively. His assessments on various fronts have helped us increase our self-awareness, identify gaps and inconsistencies faster, and drive results more effectively.
As a strategic coach, Bruce challenges our thinking and assumptions and provides us with effective guidance in developing and evaluating strategic risk/reward alternatives. His coaching skills help us clarify milestones and measures of success, thereby improving team focus and accountability.
His group facilitation skills are consistent with his personal, transparent, and relational working style. We have found him to be a passionate and genuine communicator particularly on topics related to innovation.
Founded in 1998, Metro Chicago-based JVA Partners is an operationally-focused private investment firm. They create value by investing in human talent, technology, innovation, and operational excellence in middle-market manufacturing and technology companies.
Robert Graf (Corporate Vice President, Research & Development, Lubrizol)
Bruce Vojak’s keynote at our annual Tech Symposium hit on all the right themes and generated many follow-up conversations for some time after the event. And I loved the carrot peeling demo! The visual of carrot peelings falling on the floor only to be usurped by an illustration of Breakthrough Innovation was truly great.
When you invite someone to speak at an event, you are not always quite sure exactly what you will get. Plus, there are always variables around the event itself that are hard to control or predict. For our Tech Symposium all the planets aligned. Bruce was great. Our CEO and the rest of the leadership team was there. And the venue worked. A hit on all counts.
The Lubrizol Corporation, a Berkshire Hathaway company, is a technology-driven global company. Lubrizol combines complex specialty chemicals to optimize the quality, performance and value of their customers’ products while reducing their environmental impact.
Deb Polcyn (R&D Director, Newly Weds Foods)
Based on feedback secured by surveying participants of our triennial company-wide technical symposium Bruce’s presentation was one of the top two in terms of both score and comments. It was a bit of a risk including his topic as past symposia focused entirely on technical issues. However, this human side of innovation hit a cord with the attendees. In fact, one of our technical managers actually thanked me for inviting him to present. Personally I, too, very much enjoyed his presentation and add that he did a great job of tying together comments from prior presenters to further strengthen his message to the audience.
Innovation is the driving force of everything at Newly Weds Foods. It’s evident in the meticulous way they ensure that their highest quality standards are met, and it’s in the provenance of ingredients they source from top quality markets throughout the world. Innovation thrives in the unique ways they strategically work to capture the authenticity of rich flavors in creating new taste profiles. Their inspiration leads to new tastes and the latest food trends. Their creative process starts with clearly understanding their customers’ product needs, and their innovative ideas are brought to life with culinary artistry, advanced technology and manufacturing throughout the world. Innovation is giving the palate something unexpected and marvelously different.
Jeff Beavers (Chief Operating Officer, RECSOLU LLC)
Bruce provided a plenary presentation at our annual User Conference attended by HR professionals from more than 120 top employers, helping frame the importance of having Breakthrough Innovators in successful organizations. It was great! Following his presentation, we received many positive comments from the attendees and requests for access to his book. It was obvious they appreciated the research-based content and the application to both entry-level and professional staffing. Not only did they value his message, his presentation inspired group discussion and exceeded all our expectations.
Brody DeYoung, Ph.D. (AgBiotech Industry Scientist)
We received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback regarding Bruce’s keynote presentation at our annual technical retreat. It was widely received as an intriguing topic and several commented that this was much more engaging than previous years’ retreat presentations. It definitely sparked a conversation within the company. On a personal note, Bruce was a very flexible and accommodating person to work with and I enjoyed the opportunity to interact with him both in the planning phase and during the event itself.