Mckinsey Quarterly has an interview with BP's CIO "John Leggate", below are some excerpts from the same:
The Quarterly: How do you identify new technologies?
John Leggate: We collaborate with the businesses to scan continually for innovations of every kind. These include new digital technologies and new ideas or business concepts, such as offshoring. What we're after is the ability to identify and adopt, as quickly as possible, innovations that can make a substantial business difference to BP. To achieve this, we have to be able to scale innovations-if we can't scale it, it's of no use to us.
The Quarterly: How do you look for new ideas?
John Leggate: Our process is based on the venture capital model. We look for developments, early signs of change, then evaluate them and, in some cases, adopt them. To scan, we tap into an ecology of thought leadership around the world-vendors, academics, experts of all kinds, CIOs and business leaders at companies in many different industries, venture capitalists, and other boards. I personally spend two weeks a quarter proactively scanning for ideas, and many members of my leadership team do so as well. I spent time in South Korea last year trying to understand a specific technology better that's in use there, and I sit on the advisory board of a venture capital firm and watch the deal flow for possible opportunities.
The Quarterly: How do you know that you haven't screened too hard on the front end and missed a topic that might actually be important?
John Leggate: We've formed an outside advisory board to review our scanning, filtering, and experimentation process and to challenge us on whether it is good enough. Last year, we began to realize that we were skewed too heavily to North America as a source for ideas and not heavily enough toward Asia. That's one reason I've had a number of trips to Asia recently, scanning for new ideas there.