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Thoughts On Innovation – Carmine Cinerari

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Carmine Cinerari is President of Sharp Electronics of Canada Ltd. and guides the vision and strategic direction of the company’s operations in Canada.  His appointment as President in April 2008 made him the youngest president appointed to any Sharp global subsidiary.

Carmine began his career at Sharp Canada more than 23 years ago as a Product Manager for the company’s audio visual products.  Since then, he has held progressively senior positions including Vice President of Consumer Products where he launched Sharp’s flagship AQUOS LCD TVs into the Canadian market.  Prior to Sharp, Carmine held various positions of increasing responsibility in both wholesale and retail consumer electronics.

Carmine has steered the company successfully through a number of strategic shifts in business domains, operating models, and corporate strategy.  His hands-on, collaborative approach has fostered a culture of teamwork, customer focus and valued business partner relationships.

Carmine attended Centennial College of Applied Arts and Technology and completed Global Business Leadership studies through IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland and Japan.  Carmine lives in Markham with his wife and two sons.


What is your definition of “innovation”?

Innovation is an imaginative mind at work. In the case of incremental innovation, it considers what currently exists or seems possible within the confines to today’s reality. On the other hand, the most exciting innovation is breakthrough innovation which focuses on what is imaginable but not yet possible without solving many challenges. Innovators convert an idea or concept into a reality that tends to look obvious in hindsight. Of course, it’s tough to make that intuitive leap, and even harder to solve all the problems to make it real. For us, this often involves solving technology and engineering challenges or imagining new solutions to make people’s lives better.


Why is it important for companies to innovate and invest in modern technologies?

As the technology that was once used in business has become ubiquitous in our daily lives (think the mobile phone, LCDs, companies have no option but to innovate and invest in modern technology to arm their organizations for survival in a competitive market. They also must adapt to changing demographics in their workforce that have been born into this technology-driven environment. Investments in technologies that facilitate innovation can pay small dividends daily in terms of customer care, employee satisfaction, cost reduction, and productivity improvement. With the trend to open office environments, telecommute and share workspaces, it is important for employees to be connected and able to collaborate. For example, imagine a full range of large-format interactive displays that allow team connectivity, communication and collaboration around a central display. Rather than the social trend of “heads-down” swiping and screen time which isn’t conducive to teamwork, employees can leverage their technology to share ideas on a central collaboration display that operates much like the mobile technology they are used to. It’s a new experience that opens up new possibilities forcing peoples’ heads up and participation.


What advice can you give to Canadian businesses looking to make the most out of their investments in innovation?

One of the most important things for businesses to consider when implementing new technology is the communication and integration of the solution into your company culture, keeping a keen focus on your vision or desired state. From the initial needs assessment through the implementation, companies should contextualize investments in terms of the innovation or value they bring to the business. Employee engagement and training is also necessary to ensure that investments are utilized to their fullest potential. Look for solution providers with an eye to understand your business and potential implementation challenges rather than selling you the latest technology that may not generate value in your organization.

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