Tagged: Technology Leadership Council

Alcatel-Lucent’s NFV Innovation Day 2015.

“In business and economics, innovation is the catalyst to growth […] In the organizational context, innovation may be linked to positive changes in efficiency, productivity, quality, competitiveness […] research findings highlight the complementary role of organizational culture enabling organizations to translate innovative activity into tangible performance improvements […] Innovation is the key element in providing aggressive top-line growth and increasing bottom-line results.”Wikipedia.

“Product development within the telecommunications industry has traditionally followed rigorous standards for stability, protocol adherence and quality. While this model worked well in the past, it inevitably led to long product cycles, a slow pace of development and reliance on proprietary or specialist hardware […] In October 2012, an industry specifications group, “Network Functions Virtualization”, published a white paper […] discussing NFV as a network architecture using IT technologies to virtualize entire classes of network node functions into building blocks that may be connected, or chained, to create communication services.”Wikipedia.


Left: Ted East. Right: Jose de Francisco. Location: Alcatel-Lucent’s Naperville Auditorium.

Our NFV Innovation Day was held this past Thursday. I would first like to congratulate everyone involved: participants, speakers, and the team of volunteers at the company’s Technology Leadership Council (TLC) who made it happen with support from Alcatel-University, company Communications teams, Real Estate and IT support.

This was an internal daylong event designed for Alcatel-Lucent’s own cloud computing community. The agenda featured 15 speakers addressing 3 modules: demystifying NFV, portfolio readiness and future direction, as well as an engaging live demonstration on Lean NFV Ops delivered by the Cloud Innovation Center on stage.

What was originally planned as a campus initiative to brief teams on what transpired at Mobile World Congress, quickly became a far more ambitious undertaking involving speakers from worldwide locations and a global webcast. All definitely worth the effort as feedback received is very positive and encouraging. The better news is that there are more TLC “Innovation Days” on other emerging technologies in the works already.


Making the Lean NFV Ops video. Location: Mobile World Congress, Barcelona.

By the way, speaking of Barcelona’s MWC, thanks to Darlene Cetrulo we will be making a video on the Lean NFV Ops demo available. This is just a quick note to let you know that it is ready and will be shared soon. Stay tuned : )


Left: Jose de Francisco. Center: Carla Cico. Right: Ted East. Location: NFV Experience Room at the Cloud Innovation Center.

Leading to NFV Innovation Day, we also had a good meeting with Carla Cico, member of Alcatel-Lucent’s Board of Directors. The company’s Board involves 11 Directors, all independent with the only exception of Michel Combes, CEO. My understanding is that Carla started her career with Italtel and was CEO of Brasil Telecom. International Business and Forbes featured her among the top 100 most powerful women.  

We gathered with her in the Showcase area, a good place to illustrate what’s changing in the telecommunications industry to begin with. The bulk of the discussion took place at CIC’s NFV Experience Room since the interactive Lean NFV Ops demo invites the conversation and helps visualize complex topics.


Left: Bhaskar Gorti. Center: Naperville Auditorium. Right: Michel Combes.

Back to the NFV Innovation Day, Michel Combes, CEO, and Bhaskar Gorti, IP Platforms President, delivered the opening remarks for the morning and afternoon sessions respectively.

The event featured a “dream team” of NFV speakers who did an excellent job without exception. Though, it should be noted that there is plenty of cloud talent and good work going on in the company. For that reason, when working on the agenda our planning team came to the conclusion that we were scratching the surface.

Nonetheless, NFV Innovation Day delivered insightful content coming from a broad and well balanced cross-section of the business, coupled with Bell Labs ingenuity in the areas of analytics and autonomics (machine learning) for NFV. This approach now delivers opportunities for following up and conducting deep dives as needed.


Left: Phil Tilley, Jose de Francisco. Center: Cassidy Shield, Betsy Covell. Right: Anne Lee.

imageLast but not least, TLC is a boundariless Alcatel-Lucent community fostering knowledge networks across the business. TLC focuses on activities involving technology sharing to drive heightened innovativeness.

Related links:



Event photo album.

Joining the Technology Leadership Council at Alcatel-Lucent.


I am proud to share that I am joining Alcatel-Lucent’s TLC (Technology Leadership Council).  This is an initiative spearheaded by our technical leaders in the Midwest.  TLC members are asked to cross organizational boundaries for the purpose of:

  1. sensing early game changers and the paradigm shifts shaping the industry
  2. exposing impactful concepts whether prompted by research, entrepreneurship, emerging as well as evolving techs
  3. inspiring inventiveness focusing on incremental and disruptive innovations
  4. encouraging collaboration taking advantage of proven and unconventional know-how, tools, practices and workstyles
  5. experiencing an enthusiastic environment where peers and communities can do and achieve more

TLC is set to initiate and coordinate knowledge sharing activities for our technical community.  This effort leverages ALTA’s (Alcatel-Lucent Technical Academy) heritage given the Midwest’s chapter’s impressive track and participation record.

Interestingly enough, I was jotting an outline for a manifesto on innovativeness, when I received the news on my membership.  This early draft version lists my thoughts under not yet labeled buckets to begin with and I will welcome feedback:

  • Descartes’ “cogito ergo sum” has been replaced by “I share, therefore I am” which is defining a new generation’s culture and workstyle.  In an increasingly connected world, the seed for a good idea can come from interacting with anyone’s thinking and experiences, anywhere and at unsuspected times.  Inspiration and networking coupled with serendipity are worth fostering as they can lead to fortunate events and sudden discoveries. Though, serial innovation and repeated success usually take the purposeful work of open, curious and trained minds that scout and create value.

  • Creativity’s workflow can alternate cycles of unconstrained thinking uncovering new opportunities, followed by applied constrains which make problem solving a more tangible and manageable task.  Both unconstrained and constrained thinking allow for innovativeness to flourish. This thought process also calls for zooming out and diving in as needed, broadening and contracting an ideation and prototyping project’s scale and scope in the process.

  • Elegant sophistication beats complexity, distracting clutter as well as the kind of self-defeating oversimplication that undermines value.  Simplicity is an abstraction and, as such, it is a function of essence, clarity and beauty where “less is more.”

  • An individual’s vision, intellect and tenacity makes a decisive difference.  But it takes partnering, teamwork and leadership to make things actually happen.  Defining success and plotting a course conveys a vision that is attainable in the mixt of challenges.  The journey shifts course and speed as targets move and success looks different from what was assumed at the start point.

  • “Do it once, do it right” is a must in certain and controllable environments, where automation and operational efficiencies are key.  Exploration, prototyping and iterative development entail room for experimentation and, therefore, a calculated tolerance for risk and failed attempts.  Continuous improvement learns from failure, delivers early success stories that build momentum, and pivots to quickly adapt.

  • Synergies are worth pursuing only if common platforms and/or blending resources result in leaner and faster, rather than bloated and slower, systems.  Reaping the benefits from cross-pollination, adjacent opportunities and accidental innovation do not need to be left to chance.