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Innovation Network

Innovation is at the core of everything EMC does—from how we run our operations to how we develop and deliver new products and services. We rely on innovation to survive and grow, and believe the intersection of innovation and sustainability is where we can uncover solutions to our business, social, and environ¬mental challenges. Thinking forward is vital in our approach to deliver innovative solutions today and anticipate the needs of tomorrow.

The EMC Innovation Network is our innovation engine, an internal team whose efforts aim to spark the creation and delivery of high-value ideas that accelerate innovation and drive progress. The Innovation Network, led by the CTO office, runs ongoing programs and annual events that help expand our understanding of the issues and challenges facing our company, customers, partners, and industry—as well as the world around us. With this understanding, we identify opportunities to create the future of our company and shape the world we live in.


Our Innovation Showcase is a competition that invites EMC teams and individual employees to submit ideas for solutions to company or customer challenges. The showcase generates breakthrough ideas for technical innovations and business process improvements that will shape EMC, our customers, and the information technology industry over the long term.

Employees use EMC|ONE, our internal social media site, to collaborate and develop ideas. The EMC community reviews submissions and provides feedback to their authors. Expert judges then select ideas to be incubated for development. Winning ideas are announced at the annual Innovation Conference.

The Innovation Conference is our annual celebration of innovation and innovators. Through the conference, we bring together employees from around the world, provide a forum for knowledge sharing, and recognize and reward employees for innovation leadership.

2012 marked the sixth year of EMC’s Innovation Conference. Employees from 28 countries submitted a record 2,200 proposals to the Innovation Showcase. Thirty-one entries were selected as “winners” for each of the sponsored awards, and three “best-in-show” winning entries were recognized at the conference hosted at the Israel COE. More than a dozen EMC locations around the world hosted regional conferences simultaneously, connecting to the “main stage” event at the Israel COE via live webcast.

In addition to overall “best-in-show” winners, ideas are selected for awards from specific organizations and functions including each of our Centers of Excellence. Sponsored challenges include:

  • Backup and Recovery Systems Supportability Challenge
  • China COE Challenge
  • Community Involvement Challenge
  • CTO Office Challenge
  • Egypt COE Education and Technology Award
  • Environmental Stewardship Challenge
  • Enterprise Storage Division Challenge
  • EMC Solutions Group Challenge
  • EMC Fellow and Distinguished Engineers Greenfield Challenge
  • Global Product Operations Challenge
  • Global Services Challenge (comprises three additional challenges)
    • Education Services Challenge
    • eServices Challenge
    • Total Customer Experience Program Challenge
  • EMC Greenplum®/Office of the CTO Challenge
  • Human Resources Challenge
  • Information Intelligence Group Technology Challenge
  • India COE x-BU Challenge
  • Infrastructure Management Group Challenge
  • Ireland COE Challenge
  • Israel COE Challenge
  • IT Challenge
  • Marketing Challenge
  • Midrange (Isilon® Storage Division/Unified Storage Division) Challenges—two awards granted
  • RSA Challenge
  • Russia COE Challenge
  • Sales Challenge
  • EMC VPLEX®/RecoverPoint Challenge

Looking forward to 2013, we plan to launch Innovation Central, a new tool to manage showcase submissions. Though the number of entries has grown each year, judges were beginning to see similar or related ideas being presented from different groups. Innovation Central will address this issue with new features that will help submitters refine ideas, spark new ones, and collaborate with other employees before officially entering the competition. This includes the ability to search articles, presentations, and previous entries, as well as find information included within the Global Innovation Network Analytics (GINA) platform—which launched in 2012—to connect with EMC employees who work on similar projects. To learn more about GINA, see the following section.

Putting Winning Ideas into Practice

Thanks to a winning idea from the 2012 Innovation Showcase, Big Data tools will help EMC design even more energy efficient products in the future. The new idea, which we plan to further explore in 2013, uses EMC technology to evaluate the “actual” or “real world” energy performance of EMC products at customer sites.

More importantly, this idea has the potential to provide our customers with customized, specific recommendations on how to help reduce their environmental footprints based on comparative analysis of how others in the industry are using similar technology.

CASE STUDY: Innovation Analytics

As we continue to drive innovation at EMC, we’re constantly looking for ways to improve the Innovation Showcase. In 2011 and 2012, we analyzed statistics from entries and winners to look for trends and insights to increase participation and better utilize innovation experts.


Our Corporate EMC Fellow & Distinguished Engineer (FDE) Program honors those individual contributors who have demonstrated outstanding achievement and technical leadership across the company. After the Innovation Showcase and Conference, FDEs provide support as teams and individuals incubate and advance winning ideas across EMC and its subsidiaries. FDEs also serve as mentors for our employees and contribute to the company’s overall strategy development.

The following individuals were honored at an induction gala and welcomed into the 2012 class of EMC Fellows and Distinguished Engineers:

EMC Fellows

  • Stephen Todd
    Vice President of Strategy and Innovation (Hopkinton, MA)

EMC Distinguished Engineers

  • Dan Aharoni
    Director of Engineering, Enterprise Storage Division (Hopkinton, MA)
  • Ken Chilton
    Distinguished Engineer, Enterprise Storage Division (Hopkinton, MA)
  • Larry Friedman
    Distinguished Engineer, RSA®, The Security Division of EMC (Bedford, MA)
  • Bala Ganeshan
    CTO, EMC Solutions Group (Santa Clara, CA)
  • Bradford Glade
    CTO, Data Mobility Business Unit (Hopkinton, MA)
  • Earle MacHardy
    Distinguished Engineer, Unified Storage Division (Research Triangle Park, NC)
  • Steve McClure
    Director, Software Engineering, Enterprise Storage Division (Hopkinton, MA)
  • Michael Mohen
    Chief Architect, Information Intelligence Group (McLean, VA)
  • Scott Ogata
    Distinguished Engineer, Backup Recovery Systems Division (Irvine, CA)
  • Karl Owen
    Distinguished Engineer, Unified Storage Division (Research Triangle Park, NC)
  • David Richards
    Senior Director of Engineering, Isilon® Storage Division (Seattle, WA)
  • Chris Stacey
    Distinguished Engineer, Isilon & Unified Storage Division (Christchurch, New Zealand)
  • Kenwood Tsai
    Distinguished Engineer, Information Intelligence Group (Pleasanton, CA)


In 2012, we advanced the Global Innovation Network Analytics (GINA) initiative across the company.

Leveraging an EMC Greenplum-based repository, GINA enables employees to submit meeting agendas or minutes to a central database and then automatically maps the distribution of EMC’s global activities, showing the specific lines of connection across the company through recruiting, innovation activities, research and development, publications, patents, and more. Through GINA, users can learn more about specific areas and access links to additional information about each activity.

GINA provides a single pane-of-glass view of major collaboration and knowledge trans¬fer across the globe, enabling the Innovation Network to achieve its mission to “expand knowledge locally, transfer it globally, and leverage it strategically.”

While there is more work to be done, it has already proved to be a powerful tool in providing a visual representation of knowledge transfer across the company’s global employee base. Moving forward, GINA also will play a more active role in the Innovation Showcase by helping submitters find related information—including previous entries and employees working on similar technologies.

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