BMA15: At Motorola Solutions, Marketing, Tech and IT Work Together on Innovation

Chief Innovation Officer, CTO and CIO Discuss Company's Evolution

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A panel of Motorola Solutions executives -- representing marketing, IT and technology -- discussed how all three groups are working together to drive innovation at the 87-year-old company, during a panel at the BMA conference Wednesday.

(from l.) Paul Steinberg, Greg Meyers, Eduardo Conrado
(from l.) Paul Steinberg, Greg Meyers, Eduardo Conrado Credit:

Eduardo Conrado, former CMO at Motorola Solutions, who was promoted to senior VP-chief innovation officer in January, was joined by Greg Meyers, corporate VP-CIO, and Paul Steinberg, CTO at Motorola Solutions.

Five years ago, when Motorola Inc. split its consumer business off into Motorola Mobility, which it later sold to Google, and its enterprise and government business into Motorola Solutions, the latter formed the following brand purpose: "We innovate to mobilize and connect people in the moments that matter."

"As we were developing the purpose, it eventually created the foundation for everything we've done over the last five years, and the foundation for what we want to do in the future to be more of a customer-centered innovation company," Mr. Conrado said.

This purpose extends across marketing, IT and technology, and is the driving force behind the entire company, he said. "Today, more than ever, we're about mission-critical moments," Mr. Conrado said, pointing to solutions Motorola provides for public safety, fire departments, governments and enterprises. "In terms of customer expectations, the evolution of the company is beginning to look more like an IT-centric, data-centric technology company."

Speaking from the technology standpoint, Mr. Steinberg said Motorola's approach to innovation is to employ design thinking and design engineering to deliver a user experience that will fulfill Motorola's brand purpose. "Design thinking is about the user experience," Mr. Steinberg said. He said a few years ago, Motorola Solutions had no user-experience designers, and now it has more than 20.

"A massive transformative purpose is key to innovation," Mr. Steinberg added. "You have to step all the way back, go back to design thinking and ask, 'What is the ideal user experience?'"

At Motorola, the design experience is not just about designing products, but designing the digital systems and other technology to make the whole company run efficiently, including front-office and back-office systems, said Mr. Meyers.

"With the front office, everyone thinks they're responsible for the customer, from sales to marketing to customer support," Mr. Meyers said. "There are often turf wars, and everyone has a wish list. Then prioritization happens in a haphazard, siloed way, and the customer experience ends up being siloed and haphazard. We are rethinking governance in the front office and how we prioritize what we invest in -- whether it's mobile or digital or some other platform -- and how we deliver."

"The back office -- order fulfillment, finance, HR -- is the engine that drives the company forward," he added. "We are creating the digital oil that allows the rest of the company to operate in a healthy way."

A third element in design thinking is how employees collaborate and work together. "We're taking all our tools -- even as simple as email -- and throwing them all out and starting from scratch," Mr. Meyers said. "Teamwork is more important than individual work, so we are investing in systems that allow teams to collaborate."

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