What Bob Woodward learned from attending a regional Innovation Mission

As media companies head into the strategic planning process for next year, having a leg up on the biggest trends and opportunities is a big advantage for an industry in such flux.

That’s one of the the biggest takeaways Bob Woodward, Vice President, Strategic Planning & Business Development at Woodward Communications, Inc., got out a regional Innovation Mission he attended over the summer in Boston.

“I have presented a list of key results from the trip to managers and will use the information and ideas gathered to inform our strategic planning conducted in the fall for implementation in 2018 and beyond,” he said.

Woodward, along with more than a dozen other media executives visited media companies and digital disruptors during that Innovation Mission in Boston. There’s another regional Innovation Mission on tap and the timing could not be more perfect for preparing initiatives for next year. It’s teed up for Nov. 13-15 in Silicon Valley and will include visits to Google, Pandora and more.

We talked with Woodward about his experience in Boston. Here’s what he had to say:

What stood out about the Innovation Mission that made it a valuable experience? 

Not only the quality and diversity of the speakers but also the attendees. The ability to process some of the information we were hearing in real time, by hearing alternative perspectives, experiences, examples, etc. That information exchange was super beneficial.

Were there any surprises or unexpected “a-ha’s?” 

I was especially excited to hear about some of the practices people are using to address change, processes companies are using to innovate, etc. Sometimes it’s not just the results that are important, but learning about what tools and techniques are being used.  Because not every situation is the same, but the processes are often transferable.

How would you describe the networking experience and the immersive time with industry peers? 

Much of the value came from the “down time” moments, talking with fellow attendees. At meals. At the bar. In the car. Walking on the street. Those serendipitous moments where you can discover a connection, an idea, a strategy that “lights the lamp” and gives you an unexpected item to pursue.

For someone who’s never been, why would you encourage them to go on an IM? 

You will likely be outside your regular peer group, away from the office, with exposure to people and ideas in an immersive environment that you can’t often find elsewhere. The information shared, relationships developed, and ideas generated will offer opportunities that can be pursued for months. You can’t replicate the experience in the office or a conference. It’s uniquely valuable.

Find out more about the upcoming Regional Innovation Mission in Silicon Vally here.