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Innovation Series: Bob Cooper, Chief Innovation Officer at J.W. Pepper

Innovation Series: Bob Cooper, Chief Innovation Officer at J.W. Pepper
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What is the Innovation Series? 

We interview innovation leaders from  around the world and share their insights on corporate innovation.

Innovation Leader: Bob Cooper 

Bob Cooper is the Chief Innovation Officer at J.W.Pepper - the world’s largest sheet music retailer with over 1 million titles in its catalog. He is responsible for helping the company identify innovative new business opportunities and practices that leverage the experience and reputation that J.W Pepper has built over the past 140 years.

What has been your biggest learning as an innovation leader over the last 12 months?

My biggest learning has been to slow down. By nature, I have a "hurry up - let's go" approach to business. This is useful for instilling a sense of urgency, but in working with innovation there are a number of unknowns that can trip people - or teams - up. Doing something for the first time often requires slowing down. The Navy Seals have a great saying, "Slow is smooth and smooth is fast" which can easily be applied to business innovation.

Which technology are you most excited by and why?

I am most intrigued by the “no code” movement because it democratizes technology development. It puts the power of creation into the hands of the subject matter experts and business people, without having to rely on teams of custom programmers. With an "API-first" approach, these new no-code tools and platforms can dramatically reduce time and provide significant cost-savings.


What is the biggest barrier to corporate innovation you’ve encountered and how did or are you overcoming it? 

The biggest barrier to change is fear; fear of the unknown, fear of failure, or fear of losing ones' income because of failure. As an innovation leader, it's important to create an environment of trust, that focuses on the future goals of the organization as opposed to reacting to or justifying the past. People have to understand that it's okay to admit when they are stuck or confused. That is how progress happens.

What will be the key trend in innovation over the next 12 months?

We are already seeing increased focus on business digitization, across the entire enterprise, spanning all industries. This requires a holistic view of how all the piece parts fit together, and how they can be improved. While this may need seem as exciting as a new paradigm shifting product or service, it represents billions of dollars of short-term benefit. Companies that ignore this trend risk finding themselves left behind.

Workflow Podcast

The WorkFlow podcast is hosted by Steve Glaveski with a mission to help you unlock your potential to do more great work in far less time, whether you're working as part of a team or flying solo, and to set you up for a richer life.

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To help you avoid stepping into these all too common pitfalls, we’ve reflected on our five years as an organization working on corporate innovation programs across the globe, and have prepared 100 DOs and DON’Ts.

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Unlock new opportunities and markets by taking your brand into the brave new world.

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Shay Namdarian

Shay is the General Manager of Customer Strategy at Collective Campus. He has over 10 years of experience working across a wide range of projects focusing on customer experience, design thinking, innovation and digital transformation. He has gained his experience across several consulting firms including Ernst & Young, Capgemini and Accenture.

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