Carnegie Mellon University

Integrated Innovation Institute

Engineering + Design + Business

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Alumni Spotlight - Philip Marchetti (MIIPS '14)

Redefining how corporations innovate

How do you turn the 140-year telecommunications industry on its head? Product innovation, according to alumnus Philip Marchetti (MIIPS '14). As a Product Strategy Consultant at Verizon, Marchetti works to bring together experts from all disciplines to identify the world's greatest challenges and how Verizon can play a role in solving them.

Marchetti was hired on as the third team member of Verizon's new Open Innovation division. Launched by a fellow Carnegie Mellon alumnus in 2015, the unit partners with Product and New Business department to explore high-growth opportunities in completely new product areas. By operating independently of Verizon's core business operations, Marchetti and his team serve as internal innovation consultants, obtaining insights and knowledge that don't currently exist within the company.

The goals of Verizon's Open Innovation are to gain insight, build products and recruit talented innovators. Marchetti's role is to manage a portfolio of projects across internal, external, university and incubator programs. These programs address societal challenges by diving deep into emerging areas including the Internet of Things (IoT) and digital media technologies.

"We're trying to install a new way of thinking from the bottom up," Marchetti explains. He and his team are dedicated to cultivating "intrapreneurs," infusing an entrepreneurial spirit into a corporation with more than 170,000 employees and ranked #13 on the Fortune 500 list in 2016.

So how does one implement and scale these strategies for innovation at a corporation as large as Verizon? "The key is to find internal champions," Marchetti explains. He believes that the earlier they bring key players into the process, the better off they'll be to align expectations with reality, "You can't just operate in a vacuum. You need to operate in a way that you're speaking back to the business."

Marchetti at presentation at verizon

Marchetti believes another key to corporate innovation is to promote interdisciplinary thinking. Similar to the Institute's integrated approach, Verizon's Open Innovation Unit builds diverse product teams of "hackers" (engineers), "hipsters" (designers) and "hustlers" (business professionals).

The Integrated Innovation Experience

Marchetti came to the Integrated Innovation Institute with a background in architecture. Initially, he had sought master's programs to continue to advance in the field but instead decided to pursue his interests in industrial design with our Master of Product Development (now Master of Integrated Innovation for Products & Services). He soon realized that the program taught students not only a foundation in industrial design but a whole new way of thinking.

Marchetti says that the master's experience empowered him to explore new career opportunities, "CMU gave me the entrepreneurial bug: What's next? What can I build or create to make impact?" After graduating in May 2014, he moved to New York City and worked at an innovation consulting agency specialized in social impact. He later moved into his current role at Verizon, getting in at the ground level of the company's new Open Innovation division.