Jod Kaftan

#FjordLA Kitchen: Transformation from the inside out

Exquisite California fare and abstract art surrounded the robust chatter around the real meaning of “transformation” at the recent Kitchen event from Fjord Los Angeles. There were more than a few laughs and new relationships forged—it’s a good thing because our theme, “Transformation from Within: Innovation from the Inside Out,” is no laughing matter.

Fjord co-founder Olof Schybergson kicked off the night by saying that organizations need to move from siloed innovation labs staffed by propeller heads toward a paradigm of innovation at the core purpose of what you do.

Basically, if change is just doing things differently, transformation is a new way of being. And if a company is serious about innovation, it needs to move from a mindset of replatforming IT to replatforming its values. Then our esteemed panel then had a go at it.

Molly Park, Director of Global Delivery Production at Netflix, in response to a question about how people at organizations with inert leadership can catalyze transformation from within, spoke of people needing to “find their tribe.” These can be dangerously creative microcultures built on similar aspirational values where stories of what’s truly possible can be spread peer-to-peer. Transformation starts by being just a story that gets told between human beings.

Lilian Coral, Chief Data Officer for the City of Los Angeles, spoke of the power of data and how it can be the dance partner to cultural and organizational transformation by cutting through political red tape with its persuasive power. Lilian also spoke of the unique context of working on the LA’s transformation with the knowledge that all her efforts are notably limited by how long the Mayor sits in office. Lilian’s conviction in the power of open source data and how it can be leveraged toward urban renewal was thought-provoking and offered more than a few lessons for the enterprise.

Christian Eckert, Head of Digital Product Design, Faraday Future, discussed the challenge of working in the space formerly known as cars. Christian describes his work as “focusing on the future of personal mobility.” His passion for this emerging new ecosystem enthralled the audience as he described a journey in which people could transform their cars into mobile offices and how entirely new services will emerge to integrate with a new way of living and working.  From an organizational standpoint, Christian said he welcomes the fluid environment of the start up knowing that “today we may be working on cars but tomorrow it may be something else entirely.”

The event overall was an earnest discussion about both what’s possible and what should be. At the end of the night it was entirely clear that if you want to remake your organization through customer-centricity and outside-in thinking you have also start within—from the inside out.




Jod Kaftan

More Stories from Fjord