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The Berkeley Innovation Forum (BIF) celebrated its 10th year at The Goodyear Innovation Center in Akron, Ohio, a city known for its innovation, history and creativity. The BIF members represented well over 40 national and international companies from various industries.

Speed Dating Session

Speed Dating Session

On Tuesday, April 21, attendees met at Goodyear’s Headquarters, where comments and remarks about the BIF were heard among attendees. Wayne Morris from SAP expressed that in years past, “The Berkeley Innovation Forum was the best professional experience he has had in his life.” There was much anticipation for the event as the evening began with brief introductions, and a powerful presentation by John Nottingham, Co-President of Nottingham Spirk. He shared many examples of his inventions, proving that you can’t innovate without first thinking about the customer. Nottingham set the stage for the Spring 2015 Berkeley Innovation Forum.


Throughout the event, there was strong emphasis on Business Model Innovation and the added value that Open Innovation has had on each of the companies, their services, products, and the customer. Keynote speakers and attendees alike contributed a unique perspective to the forum, and an overview of Open Innovation within their respected company. Members heard from Goodyear expert: James Euchner, Vice President of Global Innovation at Goodyear. He expanded on Goodyear’s Business Innovation Model by focusing on customer satisfaction. Similarly, Norbert Majerus, Senior Master, Lean/Six Sigma at Goodyear mentioned the importance of concentrating on the process, the product, and the people. The day was filled with interactive breakout sessions and discussions that featured Open Innovation practitioners: Toyota, UnitedHealthcare, Standard Chartered Bank, Goodyear, Nike, Siemens, and Nestle. Many of the discussions and conversations focused on services and the relationship to the customer. The panelists and participating audience engaged in a dynamic dialogue and conveyed a level of transparency that was unique to all other Berkeley Innovation Forums.



John Danner on “Capitalizing Failure”

To add a different spin on innovation, John Danner, Senior Fellow at The Lester Center for Entrepreneurship, UC Berkeley, offered his perspective by presenting his latest research on the “The Other F word” – failure. Through visual descriptions, he expressed that failure can actually lead to innovation. Danner gave attendees an opportunity to discuss what it means to capitalize failure– an invitation for members to share their insight and experiences about failure. The day ended with a closing presentation by Henry Chesbrough as he introduced his latest research on the back-end of Open Innovation.

DSC_0731The last day of the BIF continued with thought provoking conversations from all the attendees. The energy was contagious, and all arrived at the Goodyear Headquarters ready to learn and engage in conversation. Many commented on their experience, the thought-provoking talks, and the networking opportunities. New members praised the quality of the presentations and overall engagement. Dr. Chenyang Xu, General Manager at Siemens Technology-to-Business Center (TTB) began the morning session and shared current innovations at Siemens. Following Chenyang’s presentation, attendees heard from Norbert Majerus, and Professor Solomon Darwin who moderated a talk on Lean Innovation Startups. The intellectual discussion made for a remarkable exchange of ideas on what it means for a company to be successful, Chenyang remarks, “the panelists covered the topic with lots of diversity and insight.” To conclude the Berkeley Innovation Forum, Goodyear featured Henry Chesbrough during a special keynote presentation, where he specifically addressed the millennial generation by offering his thoughts on the journey of Open Innovation––a presentation that was sure to cause curiosity and excitement about the future of Open Innovation. As a grand finale, members received a tour of the manufacturing facilities, where everyone learned about the craft and process that goes into making Goodyear tires.


The Berkeley Innovation Forum came to an end, and the feedback was overwhelming with positive comments on the caliber of the program. For some, the Spring 2015 Berkeley Innovation Forum in Akron, Ohio was a life-changing visit. Until next time BIF members!


 View  the  Spring 2015 Berkeley Innovation Forum video here