ENPI: Connecting Mid-to-Large Cap Companies Within the Innovation Ecosystem

Industry Engagement
November 21, 2017 By Hai Truong

After almost two years as a resident at the Cove, industry sector representative and community partner, the Executive Next Practices Institute (ENPI) is strengthening ties with the business community in Orange County and nationwide as a core facilitator of industry collaboration and opportunities within the extended ecosystem. Entering its tenth year as an organization, ENPI has hosted over 240 forums and workshops, with overall attendance continuing to increase. “We are engaging with our members and guests from a vast cross-section of mid-to-large cap companies, upper-level leadership, C-suite and Board level executives who attend our events,” says Scott Hamilton, president and CEO of ENPI. Hamilton is a former senior executive with companies such as Nestle, DirecTV, Aramark, and Honeywell and advises established and emerging businesses. “We host these events because all businesses are susceptible to being blindsided and disrupted. It is no longer safe to follow the status quo and remain in the same industry for the lifetime of a company. The speed of digital transformation and disruption has changed the business landscape,” Hamilton says.

To stay ahead of the innovation curve, Hamilton states that ENPI forums provide a space to bring together perspectives from outside each respective industry. ENPI events create opportunities for what is described as creative abrasion, defined as a culture of change and diversity meant to challenge existing ideas–stimulating innovation at all levels of a company ranging from the boardroom to the production floor. “We have seen that if we can present a problem to a broad cross-section of people and put it in context for them, such as our recent Second Annual Next Practices Women’s Forum, then we can tap into the collective intelligence of the broader community and take a big picture look at things. From there, we can explore new ways to solve problems,” Hamilton states.

“Attendees of our events appreciate, whether it is their first time, or they are regular members, that we have created a non-solicitation venue for them to connect and develop authentic relationships. People walk away from our events with realistic, practical applications that can be used in their organizations,” Hamilton says. Given the diversity of industries that constitute the membership and attendees of ENPI events, he has seen that strategic planning for the long-term has now transitioned to creating adaptive business models that are flexible enough to change with market conditions and evolving consumer taste.

Hamilton sees a natural fit for the collaboration between ENPI and Applied Innovation as attendees of their events are exposed to the Cove and the Wayfinder startups that present at the forums–resulting in attendees exploring mentorship roles as Experts-in-Residence during these encounters. Additionally, he sees a parallel in the objective of ENPI and the Cove, as both strive to be “safe havens” for their respective communities. Hamilton sees opportunities for ENPI members and event attendees to engage with emerging companies within the ecosystem, as well as with Applied Innovation by way of its Industry Sponsored Research Group or Research Translation Group.

As ENPI continues to host an increasing number of events at the Cove, Hamilton has identified, in collaboration with Applied Innovation staff, the following ways companies can engage Applied Innovation as a member of ENPI while drawing value for their organizations:

•    Mentoring
•    Serving as Competition Judges
•    Joining advisory Groups
•    Technology Reviewing for Proposals
•    Industry Sponsored Research
•    Technology Licensing Opportunities
•    Engaging with Startups
•    Seed Funding
•    Judging for Business Plan Competitions

“It is our hope, with these forums, that attendees also see that we are modeling what companies should be doing within their own organizations, working collaboratively and problem solving without constraints, rather than operating in silos,” Hamilton says.

From his experience, Hamilton observes that existing companies get more inwardly focused the more they grow. Given this, he has received positive feedback from forum attendees that these events provide an inclusive environment that exposes them to new thinking, new ideas, and new strategies that peers can discuss through a live, in-person setting that surpasses web-based sessions and other digital forums. “Once people are here at our events, they experience the difference that comes from engaging a diverse range of leadership peers across industries with a common goal to keep their organizations at the forefront of innovation.”  

To learn more about ENPI opportunities or to attend an upcoming event, visit www.enpinstitute.com/events.