Global innovation expert to keynote Tempo leadership event

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Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:21 pm

PuriShaifali Puri’s career has thrived on driving innovative solutions around the world’s most pressing development challenges and for the populations at the center of those challenges.

After four years of running Scientists Without Borders – an organization that uses science and technology to help solve top development issues – Puri was recruited by the Nike Foundation to guide its efforts surrounding innovation and the “girl effect.” That effect, coined by Nike, zeros in on the idea of unleashing the potential of adolescent girls living in extreme poverty through technology tools and other available resources.

Puri, now a visiting scholar at New York University, will bring her lessons of global innovation to Tempo Milwaukee’s 10th annual leadership event on Thursday as she keynotes the event with an address titled “Leadership Without Borders: Adapting for Success.”

In a broad sense, Puri accepts the mainstream definition of innovation – the realization of a new idea or a more effective way to tackle a task or obstacle.

For Puri, innovation hinges on the willingness to be open.

It’s about enabling an environment “in which disparate ideas, old and new, can come together to forge a better way, a new way or a previously unimagined way toward an end,” she said.

Along with expanding on the global innovation she has helped fuel throughout her career, Puri will discuss the importance for women to incorporate innovation into the companies they lead and their own career paths.

A key question she poses: How do you think about adapting and changing as a leader and what comes next in your own career and adopting that innovation mindset?

Innovation often occurs in circumstances when leaders are looking at things not yet possible, Puri said, and when they consider the “adjacent possible,” or the circumstance in which the inputs to leap forward actually exist.

Leaders can tap into the adjacent possible by “expanding the surface area” what what’s possible and looking for connections among seemingly unrelated ideas, she said.

Another key question she plans to address: How do you balance the kinds of things you need to know because they’re mission critical with the kinds of things that can widen the surface area of possibility?

Dovetailing from innovation, Puri’s speech will also tout the need to humanize leadership as many women leaders, facing enormous pressure, fear making mistakes in the workplace.

From her leadership experience, Puri counters that “humanizing ourselves as leaders” is the best course to pursue along with honesty and the recognition that mistakes breed lessons.

“There isn’t a one size fits all but in a sense leadership at its core is about growth and authenticity and a commitment to bringing…that adaptive possibility focused mindset to what we do,” Puri said.

Tempo’s leadership event will run from 7 to 9:30 a.m. at the Pifster Hotel, located at 424 E. Wisconsin Avenue in downtown Milwaukee.

BizTimes Media is serving as an event sponsor.

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