The Inside Scoop on Innovation WIthout Disruption


You can’t grow or win without digitally innovating, but only 20% of transformation projects deliver on their promised value. McKinsey offers a slightly better (though still not great) outlook at 30%. With digital innovation consuming such a huge part of IT spending and productivity, companies need to carefully strategize to ensure their efforts deliver tangible business performance results fast.

There’s no time to wait, but there’s no time to risk getting stuck in the painful process of a multi-year transformation project when others are moving full speed ahead. This is why I love what I do. As Avaya’s Vice President of Enterprise Transformational Accounts, it’s my job to ensure our customers conquer innovation and enjoy its coveted payoff.

My passion for this work stems from my personal life experiences. Innovation – making changes in something established by introducing new methods, ideas and outlooks – is in my blood. I was fortunate to have a wonderful upbringing in Turkey but always felt a calling to come to America. I wanted to have my independence and find my own voice while leveraging what makes me different. My life’s journey has led me to this point and gives me the focus I have in helping Avaya’s customers along their unique transformation journeys.

I’ve learned a lot over the decades growing as a person and evolving my career, and I’ve found a lot of this spills over into the world of enterprise innovation. Here are two lessons that hold a mirror to the experiences of today’s CEOs and CIOs that can help them clear a path to tangible business results faster.

1. When you start with your core values, things start to click.

Innovation for the sake of innovation won’t get you anywhere faster. In fact, it’ll only slow you down. Innovation needs purpose, and that starts with your core.

What do I mean by this? When I entered the IT field, I felt I had to reinvent myself. I dyed my blonde hair black, swapped flats for heels and did anything else I could think of to find my space in a male-dominated industry. I felt I had to present myself in a certain way to adapt to a certain environment. Was this effective? I’m sure you can guess the answer. I was working in a new field on a completely new continent and felt completely unlike myself. My well-intentioned transformation efforts only set me back.


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