This article is sponsored by NTT Communications
Image: Nina Simosko, CEO, NTT i³
Every company likes talking about innovation and disruption, but few organisations embrace these concepts better than the NTT Innovation Institute Inc., also known as NTT i³, a company which is solely focused on fostering strategic innovation.
Based in the heart of California's Silicon Valley, NTT i³ exists to bring innovative ideas to market and their work has led to breakthroughs in diverse sectors including networking, healthcare, sports, IoT, artificial intelligence, agriculture and even the automotive industry.
To learn about their unique approach to technology innovation and their latest projects, I spoke with Nina Simosko, the CEO of NTT i³.
Geared Up to Innovate
Innovation depends on many factors including support, talent, freedom and plenty of trial and error. Looking at just the first two parts of that formula, NTT i³ is fortunate to have an immense network of sister companies and talent available to draw from.
Putting this in perspective, the parent company of NTT i³ is NTT, is a $105-billion-dollar Japanese conglomerate, ranked 50th in the Fortune Global 500 and is the owner of a vast range of companies including NTT Communications, Dimension Data, the telco DOCOMO, consulting firms itelligence, Everis and many more. In addition to this, NTT spends approximately $1 billion annually on R&D and has 6,000 researchers in 12 different labs in Japan, meaning there is no shortage of talent.
As impressive as this is, anyone who has tried innovating knows that success also requires the freedom to experiment, which NTT i³ has as well. "NTT i³ is its own standalone legal entity based in California and they have an outsider running it, meaning me," explains Simosko. "They didn't just choose a 30-year Japanese NTT employee to run it. I've been in Silicon Valley for a long time and what really makes us unique is that we are not forced to evangelise NTT's products and services. In fact, NTT i³ doesn't have a P&L; we don't even have Salesforce."
With this freedom, NTT i³ partners with NTT's various operating companies, taking cutting technologies from NTT's R&D department and develops them into commercially viable solutions.
Developing Disruptive Solutions
One of the many innovative products that has come out of NTT is "Hitoe", a functional material capable of being incorporated into clothing to measure biomedical signals such as a person's heartbeat muscle activity. This solution is already being used by the F1 McLaren Honda team to monitor their drivers' condition.
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