Premier 100 IT Leader: Monique Shivanandan

Fresh ideas are cultivated at a rapid-fire innovation lab

Monique Shivanandan keeps Capital One on the leading edge. As senior vice president and chief technology officer, she leads the company's innovation lab, which she launched in 2010. The lab, made up of 20 developers and product managers in San Francisco and Washington, brings together all sides of the business, as well as partners in the start-up and university realms, to bring new ideas to market fast.

Monique Shivanandan

Shivanandan has a background in telecommunications, and that experience taught her that innovation requires partnering with people who can develop ideas quickly. "The first thing was making sure we were part of that ecosystem" through partnerships, she says. "Then we needed a place to bring capabilities and experiments together to show our business leaders the power of technology." Today, three to four lab ideas at a time simmer for 60 to 90 days and then are implemented, shelved for a later date or scrapped. There are no real failures: "Finding out that a product, service, capability or technology is not something you want to go into is brilliant," she says.

Skip Potter, vice president of technology innovation at Capital One's lab in San Francisco, says Shivanandan is "all about speed."

"She's really able to work out people's strengths very quickly -- what they're good at and their motivations," he explains. "She can go from an in-the-weeds, detail-oriented leader to an out-of-the box, think-differently leader."

Collett is a Computerworld contributing writer. You can contact her at stcollett@comcast.net

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