In an industry where new technology seems to leapfrog what was just new only a moment ago, it is critical for software companies to think strategically about their innovation programs. VMware has maintained its culture of innovation throughout its history and we plan on continuing our track record of introducing game-changing technology solutions to the IT industry for years to come.
In the past year VMware demonstrated its commitment to innovation in many different ways. We introduced the concept of the software-defined datacenter to our industry - along with offering new and unique methods to manage datacenters at the scale and performance our customers require. VMware also had its very first Open Innovation contest where we invited our community to submit Fling ideas (see who won here!) and we will continue to involve our customers and partners in our innovation process as we enter into the new year.
Also in 2012, we showcased for the first time some of the innovation projects incubating inside of the Office of the CTO in the Innovation Lounge at VMworld. There was a lot of buzz about these ideas, including one that involved A Social Media Approach to Managing Virtual Infrastructure and another on Environmentally Aware Computing. We were also excited to introduce the Next Generation Education Environment - a new cloud scale platform for hosting and delivering education programs including VMware's Hands on Labs (see below for a way to get priority access to these labs!). These are just a few of all the cool things we have brewing inside VMware and I will enjoy sharing more with you next year.
As we enter 2013, there are many trends in innovation that I will be thinking about for VMware. There is a constant need to balance time to deliver on current product requirements while ensuring we're thinking about the next big thing. More and more companies are coming up with creative ways to allocate percentages of time to engineers to allow for creativity and innovation. At VMware, it's important to offer our employees the opportunity to contribute to innovation and I look forward to sharing more details about the programs that allow for these opportunities in my upcoming blogs.
Another growing trend I see happening in our industry in 2013 is creating workspaces that allow for more creative thinking and collaboration. Spaces should allow for open communication, spontaneous brainstorming and evoke an atmosphere of fun. From lots of whiteboards to foosball tables and ping pong, VMware encourages creative workspaces - where they're designed with innovation in mind. I expect more companies to adopt this approach when developing the office environment.
Lastly, in the spirit of Open Innovation, I predict more organizations will pop up to sponsor and host innovation meet-ups. These events are a great way to get different perspectives and often lead to new ideas that may not have happened in closed settings. VMware amongst other Bay Area companies started hosting such meet-ups and events in 2012. We were fortunate enough to host the popular Bay Area Girl Geek Dinner along with MassInnovation Nights in our Cambridge, MA office. We will definitely be hosting more events like these soon and I think you'll see more companies do the same in 2013.
As I look back on 2012, I am proud of what VMware was able to accomplish as a company and I'm excited about what's to come in 2013 on the innovation front - both at VMware and in the industry at large! What do you expect to see that's innovative next year? I would love to hear your predictions as well as any of your own innovation plans for 2013 - the first 20 people to comment on this blog and share your innovation plans gets to the head of the line (in front of the thousands of people waiting!) to get access to VMware's beta Hands on Labs!