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GM, Intel, Frito-Lay, And Salesforce On Finding Ideas And Keeping Them Interesting

How do you improve collaboration between research and development?

"For us, there was a gap that existed, and it was very difficult to cross. The secret is to bring the teams together for an extended period of time—sometimes for as long as two years. The researchers and developers have a new appreciation for one another's strengths and weaknesses."
-Justin Rattner, chief technology officer, Intel

What is the key to crowdsourcing ideas?

"Trust your consumer. Sometimes giving up control is one of the best things you can do for generating loyalty. The future of marketing isn't getting people to buy your brand, but to buy into your brand."
-Anindita Mukherjee, chief marketing officer, Frito-Lay North America

How do you keep the innovation process fresh at GM?

"One way is by reaching out to young students and nonautomotive industry leaders to identify new processes, styling trends, emerging transportation needs, and socioeconomic factors that help us realize technology's full potential."
-Mary Barra, senior vice president, global product development, GM

How do you decide which acquisitions will yield the best ideas?

"Get to know all the companies in the space. In the area of cloud marketing, we've seen the emergence of a lot of fantastic companies that are helping marketers reach their customers by listening to traffic on social sites. We talked to 20 different companies before we bought Radian6 and Buddy Media."
-George Hu, chief operating officer,

Fast Talk: From Idea to Innovation:

Mark Payne
Divya Gugnani
David Limp
Karen Hershenson
Albert Lee

Illustrations by Joel Kimmel

A version of this article appeared in the February 2013 issue of Fast Company magazine.