John Dila says "Hello"

Posted by JohnDila on May 27, 2010 5:24:47 PM

Greetings, InnoCentive Solvers! Let me introduce myself:

I’m John Dila and I joined InnoCentive two weeks ago as Vice President, Solver Community. This is a brand new role at InnoCentive, and with it we plan to focus completely on YOU—your insights, your needs, your growth, and your success!

Today, I want to do two things: first, focus on you; and second, provide you with some insights about me, as well as some early thoughts about the possibilities for this year.

First, about YOU.

You are Diversity Personified.  There are some two-hundred thousand of you world-wide, millions more if we include those that view Challenges through our partners and social media, hailing from pretty much every corner of the earth;

you work in fields as diverse as engineering and entrepreneurship, chemistry and computer science;
you specialize and sub-specialize in nearly every known discipline;
you work for large and small companies, universities, governments, and non-profits;
you are individual contributors, associates, managers, and CEOs;
almost half of you are interested in collaborating with other Solvers;
one in five of you spend your leisure time doing puzzles and games;
65% of you like to read in your spare time;
61% of you spend your off time with family; and
30% of you visit InnoCentive 5 or more times a week (according to our latest survey);
43% of you joined IC for the opportunity to earn cash rewards; but
The vast majority of you agreed that your motivation is to solve problems that make a difference

And there’s much more to know and understand about you.

And although you are Diversity Personified, you also share a set of beliefs and core values, which knit you together as a remarkable community: Most of you joined InnoCentive because you want to solve problems that have a positive impact on the world (e.g. to date we’ve received nearly 500 solution submissions for the Gulf Oil Spill); and 70% of you believe we (with a capital W) can do better—you are interested in Ideation Challenges, a “global brainstorm for producing breakthrough ideas” that might dramatically improve upon the way we’ve done things in the past. You are a stimulating and inspiring community.

Now let me share a little about myself and how I view the opportunities we have ahead.

I come from a diverse background: I was born in the U.S. and raised in the French part of Canada; I’ve studied languages, rhetoric, computer science, business, and technology; and I’ve worked in government, public and private companies, startups, Fortune 500 firms, and as a consultant; I love to spend time with my family (my wife and I have a 3-year-old son); and I spend my leisure time reading and writing; I’ve spent 10 of my 16-year career in Silicon Valley; I spent six years at eBay while its business and community grew more than tenfold; I’ve seen and studied the power of crowds, communities, and marketplaces; I believe the world is in the midst of change that will deeply and permanently alter how we ask questions, pose Challenges, solve problems, and do business, globally; I believe our Community can drive some of this change; I believe our Community often knows things before we know them; and I believe our relatively large Community is only a fraction of the size it will become.

Though size does matter, it’s not the only—nor even the most accurate—measure of a community’s power and influence. I’d like to be able to say our Community is one of the world’s most powerful, but I don’t think we’re there yet.

For that to be true, we must do more work for you, our Community. For example, we must enable you to view and connect with each other. And we must enable you to provide feedback about each other and your experiences. We must listen to you much more closely, and be responsive to your insights and needs. We must be willing and able to grow with you—as individuals and as a group. And we must enable you to do what you do best: solve the world’s tough problems.

And yes, we’re working diligently with the appropriate agencies to ensure your solutions for the Gulf Oil Spill Challenge are channeled to people who are close to the disaster. I’ll report regularly on this topic.

With your input this year, we will build a plan to you help you grow and succeed. We will look at: designing a useful Feedback system; broadening the number of Challenges in new areas like business, marketing, biology, and others; and building better community resources and processes—like Solver Profiles and Team-Building tools—to help you connect with each other and with us. We’ll also solicit your input on these and other ideas you have about where we should invest our focus and resources so we hit the mark.

It’s going to be an exciting year, and we want to do a lot. We’ll have to prioritize and make good choices. Your input will be key in helping us understand what is most important to you. I’m going to count on you for your candid and sustained feedback and input as we go. In kind, you’ve got my attention. I’m here for you. I look forward to meeting. Let’s have some fun building our Community!

Please don’t hesitate to contact me directly ( I’ll do my best to respond in a timely manner. I’ll also be monitoring our forums and look forward to future exchanges.

It’s good to be here. Thanks for being a Solver!


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