Culture and Strategy: What Really Drives Innovation in the Enterprise

Innovation is essential to the survival and growth of a business enterprise.

Innovation in the the ‘enterprise’ often fails because:

  • The ‘problem solvers’ (designers and engineers) are working on the wrong problems, and they don’t know when they’re ‘moving the needle’
  • The ‘leadership’ focuses on the wrong problems, and maintains organizational processes and cultures that ‘flatten’ attempts at innovation

Because so much is at stake, it’s essential that enterprise customers and vendors think and talk about ‘Innovation’ in ways that lead to real business impact.

The goal of this event is to:

  • Help Designers and Engineers understand how Enterprise Customers think and make decisions
  • Help Enterprise Customers understand how Designers and Engineers translate customer inputs into innovative products

We’ll introduce some powerful tools and ideas, talk about the blind spots and biases that get in the way of successful innovations, and start a lively debate that continues into the future.


Scott D. Witt is a tech executive and entrepreneur with decades of experience developing and marketing innovations. His motto is “Start with the Customer, and work back to the Technology.”

As the COO of UDI, a local startup, Scott helped the firm to triple its revenues in less than three years and exit via strategic acquisition by a multinational corporation.

Scott’s hands-on experience includes Strategy and Senior Management, Product and Engineering Management, Product Marketing and Business Development, Manufacturing and Operations, User Training and Technical Writing, and UI/UX design. He’s co-founded a few startups, and worked in many industries, including medical imaging, public transit, telecommunications and 3D computer graphics, and in companies from embryonic startups and university spin-offs to Silicon Valley pioneers and multinationals.

Scott’s active in the startup community. He’s a mentor and guest speaker in the Keck Medical School’s entrepreneurship program, and coaches healthcare startups in the SoCal Biomedical Council’s Innovation Catalyst program (at SoCalBio’s Digital Health Summit he’ll moderate a panel on ‘The Operational Impact of Digital Health Products’). He’s produced educational events for Innovate Pasadena, and coached teams from Caltech and UCLA in the FloW and Cleantech Open competitions.

Scott has an MBA in Strategic Marketing and Venture Development from UCLA, and a BS in Computer and Biomedical Engineering, with a minor in Music, from the University of Wisconsin Madison.


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Insights and Reading List from Scott D. Witt:


Peter Drucker:

  • “Innovation and Marketing deliver business results”
  • “Culture eats Strategy”

Sun Tzu:

  • “Tactics without Strategy is the noise before defeat” (The Art of War)

John Boyd:

  • “You can be someone, or you can do something”

Mentioned & Highly Recommended

Bob Sutton 
Idea: Creativity and Civility in business
Books: Good Boss, Bad BossWeird Ideas that WorkScaling Excellence

Rita McGrath
Idea: Testing Assumptions, Transient Competitive Advantage,

John Boyd (Biography)
Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War (Robert Coram)

Book on “Cultural Differences”
Cultures and Organizations (Geert Hofstede)

TILT (Upstream vs. Downstream)

Niraj Dawar
Video summary:

Strategy that Works

Cesare R. Mainardi and Paul Leinwand
Idea:  Your strategy must combine a unique identity with culture and capabilities that support it.

Creative Change

Jennifer Meuller
Idea: Society ‘wants’ creativity, but then rejects it. How can decision-makers avoid this?
Great Video (talks about ‘creativity’ in China):

Innovation as Usual

Paddy Miller and Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg
Article (also HBR):