DIRECTV creates 12-step program to foster a focused and fearless culture within IT

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Sven Gerjets, former senior vice president of IT for DIRECTV, has many different methods for his teams to structure and "unstructure" innovation.

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"So at DirectTV, we do a lot of things to structure innovation. And we also do some things to try to keep it unstructured, because I think it's very important for innovation to happen.

We do things like hackathons that are focused on specific, kind of guardrails of needs that people can innovate on. We also do something called an 'innovacation', which is kind of a Shark Tank style, people present to the executive level their ideas and then we will pick one or two and we will give those people a day a week to get those implemented or further down the path.

One of the things we have been doing to help, kind of continue the unstructured innovation, is we've rolled out a change initiative, we call it F12. It's our twelve steps to focused, fearless failure. So, a twelve-step program to recover from the fear of failure in the organization, creating a model and a culture where it's not about blame, but it's about learning and teaching eachother so people don't have the same failures that someone else had.

Sven Gerjets is Chief Technology Officer at Pearson, the world’s leading learning company, with 40,000 employees in more than 80 countries. He brings 20 years of IT experience to his role, including application development, system integration, enterprise program management, and large organization leadership.

Nano Serwich is Editor of The Enterprisers Project and Global Awareness Content Manager at Red Hat.