Kapil Kane, Director of Innovation at Intel China and co-founder of award-winning corporate innovation accelerator GrowthX, has wide-ranging experience in product design and shares insights about his customer- and employee-centric approach to design and innovation. He explains how the accelerator stimulates innovation at Intel and how they have adapted to be responsive and innovate faster during these times of uncertainty.
[02:45] Where Kapil grew up and what he dreamed of doing.
[03:40] Why his first experience in the US was very different for Kapil.
[04:20] Kapil interns for Apple and finds consumer electronics product design more satisfying.
[05:24] Working on a revolutionary project at Apple, Kapil drops out of school.
[06:14] Why testing is such an integral part of the design process for a great product.
[06:38] The challenge of testing a revolutionary product!
[07:59] Why Kapil moved to China in 2007.
[09:14] The rapid prototyping and positive attitude allowed Kapil to make quick progress.
[10:36] The do/try/break/iterate approach in China which differs from his experiences of design in India and the US.
[11:15] Enterprising attitudes allow quick access to resources nationwide.
[13:00] China’s consumer electronics design work is very customer centric.
[14:20] Intel recently empowered a local group to create products for the local market based on core technology.
[15:19] Employees working close to customers are identifying needs in the local market.
[17:41] How hackathons are used to generate initial ideas.
[18:25] Various seed programs develop proof of concept.
[19:30] How the accelerator Kapil co-founded explores feasibility and business viability.
[20:48] Multiple sprints prepare viable ideas for investment and launch.
[21:38] How market conditions changed the process and opportunities for technology.
[23;36] The pros and cons of innovating with hybrid work arrangements.
[24:31] The benefit of experimentation away from company headquarters.
[25:11] Kapil has found that consumers are more forgiving in China about new products.
[25:55] How customer feedback and (hackathon) research affect product development.
[27:43] The shift to empathetic mindsets in validation interviews involves understanding customers’ pain points.
[28:48] Innovation is best achieved in environments where people are allowed to challenge the status quo.
[31:43] How Kapil’s creative approach successfully stimulates innovation at Intel.
[34:59] Transferring business understanding upstream enables innovation in an ever-changing environment.
[37:03] Stimulating innovation and testing business cases early on encourages employees to be intrapreneurial.
[39:08] Kapil spends most of his time supporting the idea selection process—especially bootcamps and business pitches.
[40:15] Team coachability during bootcamps is an indicator of performance in the accelerator.
[41:15] Why has Intel’s accelerator been successful and others’ have not?
[42:21] The two factors Kapil attributes to the innovation program’s overall success.
[44:12] Why a flexible attitude also matters.
[45:44] IMMEDIATE ACTION TIP: In addition to empathizing with clients, have empathy for your employees. Listen to their ideas. Give them a platform and an environment to play with their ideas. Enable them. Empower them and you can explore all types of innovation—moonshots and incremental and adjacent innovation.
“Many times, the success rate is quite, quite small. I would say 10 to 15%, so not all projects you start in an accelerator will have an ending.”
“In general, this pandemic I think has brought more opportunities for technology, especially in data centers, PC, and internet streaming.”
“The cool thing is that not being in your headquartered country or the headquartered market, you have more chances to experiment.”
“I think the definition of innovation is not limited to technology. When people hear innovation, they think new ideas are being built in a lab.”
“You need to create real value from the innovation by landing those innovations into the market.”
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