Bootcamp Fellow Winners Share Experience

Lisa Farmer and Lizzette Tarver were WICT Southeast’s lucky chapter members to win the 2019 WICT Southeast Inspire to Innovate Fellowship to attend the CableLabs Innovation Bootcamp held on Oct. 15 – 18, 2019 in Colorado.

This year’s Bootcamp was an immersive three and a half days of learning experience designed to transform the way participants think about and use innovation. Attendance was limited so that attendees could put their inspiring ideation to practice in real-life situations.

We asked Lisa and Lizette about their experience, and this is what they had to say:

Lizette Tarver: Thank you again for this great opportunity. The CableLabs Innovation Bootcamp was most insightful, and I was truly inspired to be a confident innovation leader. Everyone (peers, coaches, panelists) that played a focal role in this experience provided for a true growth mindset as it relates to innovation. The experts, coaches, and tours provided for a well-rounded experience where relationships were fostered by way of breakthrough innovation. Many of the key learnings surrounding how we might solve for universal, ubiquitous broadband stretched my thinking and took me out of my comfort zone, which I was thrilled about. I greatly enjoyed the opportunity to tap into a more holistic way of identifying key problem-sets that truly impact our customers. There was great value in bringing together like minds in an effort to truly assess as much as understand the needs in our marketplace by bringing forth new ideas and then actually supplying them through innovation.

The F.I.R.E. (Focus, Ideation, Ranking, and Execution) framework has allowed me to understand that ideas must continually be improved from both a quantitative and qualitative perspective. I am most eager to take back my key learnings to my leader, team, and organization, given that I am better able to focus on structured innovation efforts by the application of the F.I.R.E. methodology. After attending the CableLabs Innovation Bootcamp, I am able to see how we each can be more creative and make greater impacts by generating new ideas. The content was digestible and can be easily applied across a host of industries as much as in our personal lives. This opportunity assisted in debunking the myths/mysteries of innovation, allowed me to build innovation skills through a fresh new perspective, and to rid oneself of innovation antibodies which stifle the creation of new ideas.

Lisa Farmer: Thanks for the opportunity to provide feedback and special thanks to the team at Cisco for funding the boot camp.

Overall, the CableLabs Innovation Bootcamp was extremely rewarding. The speakers, coaches, and staff were extremely knowledgeable, and the diverse group of innovators provided unique perspectives for solving the challenge statement (i.e., ubiquitous broadband).  The key learning for me can be summarized in three categories – content, impact, and application.

I found the content regarding the model for innovation (Focus, Ideation, Ranking, and Execution) to be easy to understand and practical to implement. Throughout the camp, I was able to really engage and build muscle in those areas where I lacked key strengths. Additionally, the parallel exercise of using the FIRE model for personal innovation helped to ignite more creativity for the professional challenge.

The two field trips from the CableLabs Bootcamp were very impactful in both sparking my creativity and helping to understand the value of doing ‘deeper-dives’ to understand customer problems. The volume of innovation occurring in adjacent industries, such as the facility we visited in the energy sector, was such an inspiration and a testament to the value that can be created through partnerships to solve problems. Furthermore, those same partnerships can be used to leverage solutions for the same types of customer problems related to equal and affordable access while also considering the larger ecosystem/planet.

The opportunity to apply what I learned, both personally and professionally, from participation in the CableLabs Innovation Bootcamp is a simple translation for me. In my organization, there is a separate team for ideation. Still, boot camp has encouraged me to advocate for innovation even in my area through more strategic collaboration and brainstorming, which can be applied to any project without major upheavals to current processes.

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WICT Southeast graciously thanks our partners Cisco and CableLabs for making this opportunity possible.