2018 Keynote Speakers

MACC 2018 Keynote Speakers:

Keith Narr

Keith Narr is the Chief Technology Officer at Cargill and is responsible for leading the Enterprise Architecture Community of Practice as well as Cargill Digital Labs (Cloud, Enterprise Data Platform, Immersive Learning Center (ILC) and Apollo). Prior to joining Cargill in 2016, Keith spent 20 years at the North American retailer Target.

Link to Presentation : Driving Innovation and Agile transformation to support next generation data and analytics

More than nine billion people are expected to inhabit the planet over the next 30 years. As America’s largest privately-owned company and one of the world’s top producers of agricultural products, Cargill is applying technology with a purpose across its global food and agricultural supply chains in order to nourish the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way.

Keith Narr, Cargill’s chief technology officer, explores how the 153 year-old Cargill is navigating through disruptive change thanks to digitalization. From agile transformation and culture shifts to building new capabilities and partnerships, Cargill is embracing data and analytics in ways to better address some of the world’s greatest food challenges.


 Tariq Samad

Tariq Samad holds the Honeywell/W.R. Sweatt Chair at the Technological Leadership Institute at the University of Minnesota, where he also serves as the Director of Graduate Studies for the nation’s longest-running M.S. in Management of Technology program and has an adjunct faculty appointment in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Dr. Samad joined the Univ. of Minn. in 2016 after a 30-year career with Honeywell where was Corporate Fellow and Global Innovation Leader for the company’s largest business group. Dr. Samad will talk about “Innovation as a Complex Dynamic System.”

Link to Presentation : Innovation as a Complex Dynamic System. 

We all know that innovation is not a turn-the-crank process, nor one that can be neatly captured in a simple methodology or framework. Yet, innovation isn’t a random walk either! The question then arises: Can we say anything about innovation and how to make it happen—beyond the usual platitudes? I will argue that viewing innovation through the lens of complex dynamical systems can shed light on a subject that often seems mysterious or impenetrable. In this context, the talk will discuss tools, people, and processes, combining practical advice with a broader perspective.

To begin on a pragmatic note, I will start by reviewing selected tools and templates—including hype cycles, technology readiness levels, technology/market roadmaps, and real-win-worth analyses. A recent corporate innovation competency model developed by Alisa Mulhair will also be outlined. Tools such as these take some subjectivity out of assessment and decision making while setting horizons beyond immediate actions and deadlines, although in the face of complexity judgement is still necessary and overreliance must be guarded against.

Innovation is hardly a deterministic process, of course. Understanding and managing the uncertainty associated with it is of crucial importance, especially since our intuitions often lead us astray when contemplating probabilities. More generally, a better appreciation of the biases and heuristics of people—and that includes ourselves!—is needed and can help elucidate the strengths and flaws of human decision making in complex environments. Some findings from psychology and behavioral economics will be reviewed, and “failure modes” of human decision makers illustrated with technology management examples.

The talk will conclude by exploring analogies with complex dynamical systems theory more generally. Such systems evolve over time in ways that can characterized, if imperfectly and with due consideration to stochastic aspects. I will highlight how concepts such as system architecture, modeling, nonlinear dynamics, feedback, estimation, and optimization can illuminate and potentially improve the process of innovation. Examples from projects, successful and not, will be included.

Richard Walker

Richard Walker is CEO and co-founder of York Solutions and is arguably one of the most connected IT executives in the Twin Cities area. York provides cutting-edge workforce solutions to help organizations use disruptive technologies to transform and achieve business, technology, and operational goals. In 2009, Richard Walker founded Think IT, a professional association with the overall mission to be fostering professional growth and development through the power of networking and collaboration. The group currently caters to over 3,000 IT professionals within the Twin Cities.