Title: Diversity Drives Innovation
Abstract: Many companies have robust frameworks and initiatives to advance diversity and inclusion (D&I) efforts. Increasingly, we see more diversity in corporate leadership teams and board rooms. Many of us continue to work on enhancing STEM education to attract more women and racial and ethnic minorities into STEM-related fields. There is often a strong focus on D&I at the top and the bottom of corporate organizations, so how might we more purposefully engage diverse talent in all daily innovation activities? I will present on effective engagement of diverse participants (e.g., gender, ethnicity, experiences, backgrounds, fields of expertise) to generate a greater quantity and quality of creative solutions to gnarly problems.
Bio: Maria Thompson is an experienced technology leader focused on innovation strategy & change management, business transformation, operational excellence, and organizational capability improvement. She regularly collaborates with New Product Development teams to creatively solve customer problems and generate differentiated product and service designs protected by strategic patent portfolios. She builds partnerships to transform global organizations by introducing new processes, impact and activity-based metrics, technology, and culture change for improved creativity, quality, costs, and productivity. She fosters alliances with senior management, business strategy, legal, R&D, IT, marketing, engineering, supply chain, sourcing, operations/ manufacturing, quality, and services personnel to enable sustainable organic growth. Maria Thompson graduated from the ISU Computer Science undergraduate program at the top of her class receiving the Senior Scholastic award and earning the NCR Most Promising Computer Science Student scholarship. She subsequently obtained her MS degree at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada.