How To Take Advantage Of A More Globally Distributed Approach to Innovation

This article by GaN Systems CEO Jim Witham was published in its entirety at on May 18, 2022. 

In the past, the word ‘innovation’ has often meant a fancy building with a lavish buildout for a technology or ‘technology aspirational’ company in a major coastal urban center. With today’s global systems of talent, collaborators, and customers – that old model is looking increasingly tired and faded. Many companies have employees and customers on multiple continents. In the case of GaN Systems, we have teams in North America, Europe, and Asia. The challenge – and opportunity –is how to most effectively tap into and unleash the wealth of technical knowledge and customer insights across those diverse geographies.

While there are certainly management and coordination challenges to a more distributed or hybrid approach to innovation, the benefits can be vast. The three benefits that I called out in the Forbes article have really made a difference in the trajectory of GaN Systems. 

– Harnessing the collective and never-sleeping 24/7 mind of innovation.

– Tapping into a diversity of mindsets and cultures to provide a variety of lenses for seeing the world.

– Gaining proximity and insider perspectives at emerging hotspots of change.

A globally distributed community of innovation practitioners of various skills and cultures requires better focus on the means of facilitation, communications, trust, and risk-taking. My advice for setting up and managing a globally distributed innovation focuses on principles of

– Structure: What is centralized as opposed to decentralized.

– Internal Competition: Competition as a healthy partner to collaboration.

– Trust Building: Elimination of any built-in ‘not invented here’ biases.

– Cultural Dominance: The value of cultural diversity.

Innovation should not be limited to a specific physical place or building. Instead, let’s think carefully and creatively about how your geographically distributed resources and teams can best move your company’s innovation efforts forward. 

The full article is available at Forbes at