What is innovation?

State leaders share what innovation means for their organizations


“The only thing moving faster than technology is consumer expectations… purposeful innovation is key to meeting those expectations, and foundational to our business. Fintech is simpler and more complex than most of us understand. The very nature of the term conveys what it is: Solutions at the intersection of financial services and technology. But it’s not that simple. Innovation in each step – process, people and technology – is needed to sustain and build competitive advantage. We have a legacy of more than 30 years of experience in financial services technology, which forms a foundation of insight and knowledge about where the world is going…Our people are passionate about innovation – not for innovation’s sake, but for that of our clients… We are informed by the way people live today, and inspired by the way they will tomorrow.”

— Jeffery Yabuki, president and chief executive officer, Fiserv Inc.


“Innovation is when curiosity and passion for improving intersects with collaboration of bright minds sharing knowledge to make a healthier world. The organizations that have the greatest success in innovating to create knowledge to change lives and improve health in game-changing ways, have people, programs and practices that execute on this innovation in a consistent, coordinated and continuous fashion. These organizations generally have research and development and education as core missions and also bi-directional community input and receptivity. Ultimately, innovation in medicine will create knowledge that improves health and changes lives within our community and beyond.”

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— Dr. Joseph Kerschner, dean of the School of Medicine, provost, executive vice president, Medical College of Wisconsin.


“Innovation at Kohl’s is centered around creating a pipeline for new ideas, taking a test-and-learn approach and fostering a continuous feedback loop with our customers and our associates. Building a culture of innovation is not just about investing in today’s technologies, but also investing in our people. We champion certain behaviors, like keeping the focus on our customers, working with speed and agility and silo-busting, to work more collaboratively across teams. When you can think both vertically and horizontally, you may find serendipitous solutions that you wouldn’t otherwise clearly see. It’s with this lens that we continue to innovate and iterate at our Kohl’s corporate offices coast-to-coast and our stores nationwide.”

— Sona Chawla, chief operating officer, Kohl’s Corp.

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“Innovation can be an invention, but not if someone fails to bring it to market. Innovation can be a product, but not if it fails to move the market. Innovation can be an idea, but not if there is a failure to execute. Innovation can be an attitude, but not if there is failure to follow through. Innovation can reside in failure, but not if the innovator fails to learn from mistakes.”

— Tom Still, president, Wisconsin Technology Council.


“Innovation turns gaps into opportunities. Innovation translates ideas into possibilities. Innovation creates new solutions to challenges by looking at the world from a different perspective. What makes an idea innovative is not necessarily the scale of its impact, but rather the value it delivers to those affected by it. Some revolutionary discoveries create entirely new industries, while others simply make existing technology work better. In all cases, innovation is an expression of human curiosity and the desire to create something new.”

— Aaron Hagar, vice president of entrepreneurship and innovation, Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.


“At Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin health network, innovation is at the core of academic medicine and has been a part of our DNA from the beginning. We define innovation as “the delivery of new customer value.” Today, with the rapid digitization of our industry, there are more ways to innovate than ever before. But innovation isn’t about chasing shiny objects. It’s about organizational transformation measured by delivering on customers’ needs where they are. The tools are changing, but the goal is clear.”

— Mike Anderes, chief innovation and digital officer, Froedtert Health; president, Inception Health.

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