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The Driving Force Behind Technology Innovation: Interview with Nina Simosko, CEO of NTT i³

Richard Pain | June 28, 2017
Discover how NTT i³ develops innovative new solutions leveraging networking, IoT, artificial intelligence and more.

NTT Communications LogoThis article is sponsored by NTT Communications

Nina Simosko, CEO, NTT i³

Image: Nina Simosko, CEO, NTT i³

 

Every company likes talking about innovation and disruption, but few organizations embrace these concepts better than the Nippon Telegraph & Telephone (NTT) Group. As part of its objective to better serve its customers, NTT set up the NTT Innovation Institute Inc., also known as NTT i³, which is solely focused on fostering strategic innovation. Based in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley, the company works with established enterprise companies looking to adopt new and evolving approaches into technology-first and digitally-driven businesses. Likewise, NTT i³ partners with early stage digitally-native businesses while looking to expand their presence and establish competitive differentiation within their respective marketplaces.

 

NTT i³ exists to bring innovative ideas to market and their work has led to breakthroughs in diverse sectors including networking, healthcare, sports, IoT, artificial intelligence and machine learning, the automotive industry and even agriculture. Notably, the solutions born from these developments can disrupt, not just NTT’s competitors, but NTT’s subsidiaries as well, ensuring that companies like NTT Communications have the most innovative, cutting edge solutions for their customers.

 

To learn more about this unique approach to technology innovation and their latest projects, I spoke with Nina Simosko, the CEO of NTT i³, who was in the middle of a whirlwind schedule, travelling around the world meeting partners in Japan, Orlando and Johannesburg. “That’s what happens when you own a vast number of different companies,” she remarked.

 

Geared Up to Innovate

 

Innovation depends on many factors including support, talent, freedom and plenty of trial and error. Looking at just the first two parts of that formula, NTT i³ is fortunate to have an immense network of sister companies and talent available to draw from.

 

Putting this in perspective, NTT is a $105-billion-dollar Japanese conglomerate, ranked 60th in the Fortune Global 500 and is the owner of a vast range of companies including NTT Communications, Dimension Data, the telco DoCoMo, consulting firms Intelligence, Everis and many more. In addition to this, NTT spends approximately 1 billion dollars annually on R&D and has 2500 researchers in 12 different labs in Japan, thus there is no shortage of talent.

 

As impressive as this is though, anyone who has tried innovating knows, success also requires the freedom to experiment, which NTT i³ has as well. “NTT i3 is its own standalone legal entity based in California and they have an outsider running it, meaning me,” explains Simosko. “They didn't just choose a 30 year Japanese NTT employee to run it. I've been in Silicon Valley for a long time and what really makes us unique is that we are not forced to evangelise NTT's products and services. In fact, NTT i³ doesn’t have a P&L, we don’t even have Salesforce.” 

 

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