Soon Yu is an international speaker and author on innovation and design who has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine and New York Times.

His upcoming book, Iconic Advantage, challenges businesses, from Fortune 500 to venture-backed startups, to refocus their innovation priorities on building greater iconicity, and offers deeper insights on establishing timeless distinction and relevance.  He regularly consults business leaders on developing meaningful Iconic Signature Elements, Signature Moments and Signature Communication.

He most recently served as the Global VP of Innovation and Officer at VF Corporation, parent organization to over 30 global apparel companies, including The North Face, Vans, Timberland, Nautica and Wrangler.  While at VF, Soon created a $2 billion innovation pipeline, established 3 global innovation centers, and initiated industry-leading design best practices.

Prior to this he worked at The Clorox Company and Chiquita Brands, where he won company-wide awards for best advertising, best promotion and best new product, and gained industry recognition from the Webby Award, Favorite Website Award and Dope Award. He has also been a consultant at Bain and Company, and a founder and CEO for numerous venture-backed startups (including Gazoontite, Promeo Technologies and TWRL) and was recognized as a Northern California finalist for the prestigious Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” award.

He is a highly sought after speaker on innovation, design and entrepreneurship, and often guest lectures at the Parsons School of Design and Stanford University (where he received his MBA and is active with the GSB Asian Alumni Association).

 

 

T-SHAPED DESIGNED LEADERSHIP: WINNING IDEAS ONLY WIN IF THEY ARE SOLD

The days of a "great idea that sells itself" are gone. Organizations are facing greater complexity from an explosion of technologies, new business models and changing consumer expectations. Great ideas, while being the possible solution to these challenges, face an even greater challenge to sustain organizational momentum in the midst of all this complexity. To achieve success, a "T shaped" leadership model must be applied to innovate. A model that goes beyond just developing inspired ideas to the organizational influencing skills required to execute them.

FAIL TO INNOVATE: HOW TO MAKE FAILING A COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE

A young IBM executive, who just lost millions in series of blunders, was called to a meeting with Tom Watson, the CEO. He asked Tom whether they were going to fire him and instead Tom replied, "Not at all, young man, we have just spent a couple million dollars educating you." Everyone knows that failure is part of any innovation journey—but how can you turn this failure into a competitive advantage?

CREATING ICONIC ADVANTAGE: DON'T JUST MILK THE COW, BUTTER IT UP!

Before chasing what's new, consider innovating what's OLD... Growing iconic brand and product franchises is a conscious and deliberate strategy for success, and requires strong and coordinated design, innovation, and marketing capabilities. Come learn what new best practices are required to fully leverage this competitive advantage, especially in a world where consumers are gravitating towards fast fashion and commoditized products.  

 

Soon really connected with our audience. In fact, he was the most requested speaker to bring back again next year based on our post-event interviews.
— IIR USA