Zhenya Tincheva, Digital Innovation Manager at Mondelez International has spent 12 years at the company. From Support Engineer, through Sourcing Network and IT Support and Global Sourcing IT Infrastructure to her current role as a leader in digital innovation.
The main thing that her team does is to try out and get experience with technology, she says. Zhenya describes the way in which her team approaches new vendors and technologies in an intense reality: “there is so much technology being released at the moment”.
1. How you Set up a New Project
Before they start some of the projects they do reference cases or they explore what the vendors are or what other companies are doing in the same space, they review the vendors of capabilities that we look for, in terms of scalability, in terms of future thinking, Zhenya shares. So, they do extensive research, go to the market, see what are the products that are available, what the vendors are and how much experience they have in that space and if we fit culturally.
2. Choosing a New Technology
There is so much technology being released at the moment, Zhenya says. So the most important thing is to test and see if anyone is applicable to their context, share it with all the involved stakeholders and ultimately make a decision. And then, in her words, move on to the next opportunity or next technology that is already there and waiting for us to explore. We can turn around projects. We can leave it and put them in place, we can execute them and prove the results. In this process, one of the key currencies in her team is time. So in order for this speedy process to happen well, she finds it important for her team to have good relationships. When it comes to team management, she likes to think that she would prepare her team to ensure that they have the basics right, and then she will get out of the way and let them thrive with the project and make sure that they have everything they need to execute.
3. Where is Automation in Innovation
Automation is one area that she and her team think is maturing in terms of offering. So in order to prove the value for the business that means to already go, for example, outside of innovation, there is nothing further to prove there: it works, it is valuable, now let’s put it as something that anybody from the business can do.
4. How Does an Innovation Team Work
What innovators have in common is the willingness to encourage people’s participation and feedback and input. And when you start listening and bringing these people to the table and giving them the opportunity to speak, some of the solutions become obvious, she says. It doesn’t take one person, on the contrary, it takes 10 different perspectives to come with a single solution. Hence, nothing depends on Zhenya entirely. It is the whiteboard that they always start with, saying: we don’t know what the future is, let’s start imagining and let’s start working on and creating it together. So when it comes to team management she likes to think that she would prepare her team to ensure that they have the basics right and then she will get out of the way and let them thrive with the project and make sure that they have everything they need to execute.