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50 Innovative Companies to Watch 2018

“We focus on a full lifecycle approach to accelerating innovation moving from an initial idea through the commercialization of powerful platforms”: NTT Innovation Institute Inc. (NTT i3)

thesiliconreview-nina-simosko-president-ceo-ntt-innovation-institute-inc-2018The economy is composed of enterprises and businesses. It has survived because the industry leaders had been able to adapt to the changing times and supplied mostly the communities’ needs. Any small business is integral to the economy. Without it, our economy would not survive. But a business must also sustain itself, be able to constantly evolve to fulfill the demands of the community and the people. In every business, it is imperative to be industrious, innovative and resourceful.

Entrepreneurship produces financial gain and keeps the economy afloat, which gives rise to the importance of innovation in entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs are innovators of the economy. It is not just the scientist who invents and come up with the solutions.

NTT Innovation Institute, Inc. (NTT i3), is one such company which believes in bringing the imaginations into play. The company is the Silicon Valley-based innovation center for NTT Group, one of the world’s largest ICT companies. NTT i3 works with both established enterprise companies and early stage digitally-native businesses to identify ambitious innovation ideas in the R&D lab and develop them into new technology platforms that are applied against real business and consumer problems in the marketplace. NTT i3 embraces a unique full lifecycle approach to innovation combining the best practices of open innovation research, applied R&D expertise, and agile product development.

NTT i3’s outset

The company was created in order to identify and build new relationships with technology leaders and digitally-driven brands in Silicon Valley, provide a place in which ideas and product development could be shared between NTT’s global operating companies and the enterprise community, and to open up collaborative learning and co-innovation opportunities with the greater startup ecosystem.

A sketch on the company’s initial product launch

In May 2017, NTT i3 launched CLOUDWAN in a globally collaborative effort with NTT Group operating company partners Internet Solutions (IS), the leading pan- African telecoms services provider, and NTT PC Communications (NTTPC), a network service and communication solution provider in Japan. CLOUDWAN combines both software-defined Wide Area Network technology (SD-WAN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV) into one environment, enabling enterprise customers to deliver advanced services to the computing edge. This empowers businesses with an accelerated path to leverage new software easily and in an agile way at the edge of their network which increases business flexibility and enables rapid digital business transformation.

One of a kind

Apart from its ongoing engineering efforts building POCs and prototypes, and adding new features to its commercial endeavors in enterprise software it spends a great deal of time with NTT Group customers and technology leaders. Sometimes that is its Silicon Valley-based Customer Experience Center (CXC). Other times it is in offices around the world from South Africa to Germany, London to Singapore and Tokyo. The firm is always on the hunt for the most forward-thinking technologies and partnership opportunities and it goes wherever that leads us.

NTT i3’s focus

The company has a deep focus on enterprise and industrial IoT, the vast quantities of data it generates, and the technologies such as machine learning and predictive analytics that are required to harness it for good in industries such as manufacturing, healthcare, transportation, and sports.

Conversation with the unrivaled persona: Nina Simosko, CEO

How inimitable are you comparatively?

We want to continue to focus on the toughest problems that will make a difference in enterprise businesses every day. And we are particularly interested in the ways we can create and harness data to do that. We don’t do R&D for the sake of pure research. Our view of innovation is that it has to have significant practical use in the real world to make the time spent working in the lab worthwhile.

What do you think is challenging in the industry?

In the tech industry today, finding great people is always a challenge. There’s tremendous competition for both human capital and great ideas. As the innovation center for a global corporation with hundreds of thousands of employees, we have to address both the challenge and advantage of being a part of a truly global organization. We have to bridge both the inherent cultural divides and distances between offices and then use that diversity to our advantage.

How do you define your company’s triumphs?

There are four big assets that we count on every day. First, our own people bring their skills, experience, and great intuition for finding and developing great ideas. Second, our trusted relationships around the world with global brands and technologists enable us to take ideas out of the lab and into real marketplace experiments and commercialization. Third, our access to the resources of a large global corporation, NTT Group, gives us the chance to scale far beyond a startup while still being able to be relatively autonomous. And finally there is curiosity.

Embrace the dignitary

Nina Simosko serves as President and CEO of NTT Innovation Institute Inc. (NTT i3), the Silicon Valley-based innovation center for NTT Group, one of the world’s largest ICT companies. Focused on fostering strategic innovation, NTT i3 works with established enterprise companies interested in investigating new approaches to evolving into technology-first, digitally-driven businesses.

Previously, Nina was responsible for leading the creation and execution of Nike Technology strategy, planning and operations worldwide. At SAP, she was Senior Vice President of SAP’s Global Premier Customer Network (PCN) leading both the PCN Center of Excellence and SAP’s Global Executive Advisory Board, and she was a part of SAP’s Global Ecosystem & Partner Group working with SAP’s communities of innovation. She serves on the advisory boards of two early-to-mid stage technology companies: Reflektion and AppOrchid.

“We look at the most ambitious and game- changing ideas that can come from anywhere.”