IBM Innovation Expert Speaks to SoBA Students

Photo of Nick Donofrio

Students in Clay Looney’s BMIS 478 class were wowed by Nick Donofrio, 44-year veteran of IBM last Thursday morning.  Mr. Donofrio was at UM as part of the Mansfield Center’s Third Asia-Montana Energy Summit.

Mr. Donofrio’s inspiring presentation focused primarily on how companies innovate—how they create value through innovation, for society, for individuals, for companies, for countries.  His dynamic delivery challenged students to think about their role in the future to be part of the culture of innovation. 

Innovative people and innovative organizations seek out new sources of ideas. They embrace multi-disciplinarity rather than shy away from it.  They have an open, collaborative mindset—something many people talk about but that is quite challenging to put into practice.  They embrace globalization with the realization that creative ideas are found everywhere—including from the four billion people living at the base of the pyramid on less than $2/day! 

Mr. Donofrio’s wide-ranging examples from IBM, to Procter & Gamble, to Apple captivated students as he wove a compelling story about how true innovators focus on the problem to be solved, not creation, invention, or discovery for their own sake. 

The messages were particularly relevant for the inaugural cohort of students in UM’s new Master of Science in Business Analytics, who recently completed a segment on creativity training and innovation using data science tools.