AI & Machine Learning: Register for Our Next Innovation Boot Camp in April 2019

Michelle Vendelin
Director, Innovation Services

Jan 15, 2019

No matter your title or job description, you probably hear the term “innovative” a lot around your office. It’s what drives all of us to come to work, push boundaries and solve the unsolvable. Sounds inspiring, but how do you become innovative or lead others to be more innovative? This is the premise behind CableLabs’ Innovation Boot Camp, an intensive three-and-half-day workshop that helps you understand a more predictable way to generate breakthrough ideas and uses proven strategies, real-world scenarios and small group exercises to ignite your innovation leadership skills.

2019 Innovation Boot Camp: The New Assistants - AI & Machine Learning

We usually structure our Innovation Boot Camps around a single area of focus and this April’s topic is “The New Assistants: AI & Machine Learning.” It’s a hotly debated topic and an area ripe for innovation. Just consider the latest announcements at CES 2019, where smart appliances and virtual assistances of all shapes and sizes were capturing our imagination. During your time at Innovation Boot Camp, we will discuss the latest breakthroughs in AI as well as the challenges faced by the innovators in this field. And you will have the opportunity to practice innovation and generate new ideas in this space.

Why You Should Attend

Participants often describe CableLabs’ Boot Camp experience as an intense learning journey that teaches you how to apply new creative practices, build on your influence and present your best ideas with more confidence. It’s also a great networking opportunity that allows you to foster valuable relationships with a whole community of innovators.

But don’t take our word for it. Here’s what our Boot Camp graduates have to say about the program:

  • Jeremy Swenson, an Operation Analyst from Midco, said: “It brought a lot of common-sense approaches, but also a lot of new information that I never would have thought about—new tools and strategies that I can take to my company and implement on day one.”

The Boot Camp program is based on the FIRE framework for Innovation (Focus, Ideate, Rank, Execute) developed by author, radio host and our CEO, Phil McKinney. Each exercise is designed to build on new information and show you how it could be put into practice immediately. Even if you’ve never thought of yourself as the “creative type,” our skilled innovation coaches and speakers will show you how you can become one. By the end of the program, you will build an arsenal of useful strategies that will help you generate and pitch ideas in your professional sphere.

  • Pam Lloyd, a VP from G.C.I, said: “The external speakers were all top notch and each one built on the framework…the flow was great!” 

Aside from our own CableLabs innovation experts, we like to bring in industry leaders from external companies. Because this year’s Innovation Boot Camp is focused on AI and Machine Learning, we will select experts from this field. They’ll share their thoughts on the future of AI and its current progress as well as the role of innovation in their lives.

  • Sian Morgan, a Senior Director from Videotron, said: “The tours were great. We got to see innovation in more of a working context by visiting large organizations that were integrating innovation into their day-to-day work.”

If you think our Boot Camp is all lectures and group exercises, think again. Our participants go out in the field for private tours of Silicon Valley companies that are known for their focus on innovation and are willing to share the truth about it (in the past we have toured Google, Salesforce, Toyota, Ford, Autodesk, etc.) 

Innovation Bootcamp April 2019

The Final Pitch

Our Innovation Boot Camp is designed to foster innovation leadership skills in industry professionals. In other words, it’s all about you, and building your skills and a custom toolkit which you can then take back to your team. That’s why the program culminates with what we like to call “the final pitch” where you will get to demonstrate your newly-learned skills by pitching your idea to a panel of battle-tested innovators. It’s a fantastic opportunity to test yourself and get valuable feedback that you can incorporate in real life.

Ready for your next Innovation Boot Camp? Early bird pricing is still available - register today! 

Register for Innovation Bootcamp

Event Info


CableLabs Silicon Valley
400 W California Ave
Sunnyvale, CA 94086


April 9-12, 2019


CableLabs Members Early Bird Discount: $997 (Register before February 8)
CableLabs Members: $1,347
General Industry Early Bird Discount: $1,497 (Register before February 8)
General Industry: $1,997

Pricing includes all materials, tours, meals and beverages. You will need to provide your own transportation and hotel (special hotel discounts available).


Come Along for the Ride: Innovation Boot Camp

Jason Rupe
Principal Architect

Jul 18, 2018

Innovation is difficult. A full 95 percent of consumer products fail. Plus, the innovation process is highly unreliable, so we need every advantage we can get. In just three and a half days at the CableLabs Innovation Boot Camp, my team and I found a way to change all that. Yes, they were long days, and we had to make efficient use of that limited time. But 95 percent? We considered that an opportunity!

You Might Think

My part of the project pitch—the ultimate goal of Innovation Boot Camp—started off with a statistic that was just as surprising as that 95 percent figure, which was the number of people who could seriously benefit from the use of autonomous vehicles—if they were made to be safe. About 15 percent of the world’s population is disabled, and many of them could benefit from autonomous vehicles in some way (but also could be more easily harmed by them). Then again, everybody could significantly benefit from automated vehicles, so that percentage rises to 100 with a little change in perspective! Doing a bit of research and framing a problem with real statistics is something I learned a long time ago in high school debate. But it’s a corner I often cut, as I think many of us do. Innovation Boot Camp reinforced that important aspect, which is critical to solving an important problem.

As for our pitch—it went very well! We got fantastic feedback, and the Q&A session afterward quickly generated further great ideas. A key feature of the boot camp was Phil McKinney teaching attendees about innovation antibodies. I listen to his podcast regularly, so I had heard of the concept before. But it was during Innovation Boot Camp that I realized those antibodies were real—and they were inside me! I’m not talking about autonomous bots in my system, and I’m not referring to the autonomous vehicles and robotics at the core of our focus at Innovation Boot Camp. Rather, to me, innovation antibodies mean that I could talk myself out of taking the needed risks to execute on innovation. Thankfully, I recognized their presence, so I could deal with them directly— an important step! I really came away with confidence that I could overcome those innovation antibodies. Our successful pitch demonstrated that nicely. But just the evening before, I wasn’t so sure.


I remember preparing for our final pitch. We had driven our project far in just a few days, and we had successfully followed the innovation process. We were coached on what elements belonged in our pitch to sell it well, and we were learning about the hard part: execution. Our idea had merit! (Of course, every team at Innovation Boot Camp could confidently say the same thing.) We knew to focus on the “why.”

Executive Director of UpRamp Scott Brown gave us great pointers; I’m sure he was proud of us! But even as the teams were getting ready to frame their pitches and were forming their use case stories, we were also learning from Ryan Wickre and Scott Thibeault about design practices, and how excellent companies like Frog Designs solve tough design problems.

Learning is a constant at Innovation Boot Camp. Our dinner one night was a live Q&A session at the Computer History Museum. After looking over the technology that touches our topic area for our innovation project (autonomous vehicles), we enjoyed a live session with a few seasoned entrepreneurs who shared a lot of wisdom with us:

That evening was all about gaining both knowledge and wisdom! When I first arrived at Boot Camp, I knew almost nothing about autonomous vehicles, but after that evening, I knew more than enough to innovate in that market space. And I was already learning the steps required to innovate well. We were motoring!

I’m in Touch with Your World

As my team prepared its pitches, I thought about the time we spent enjoying food and drinks with our target market: the early adopters. When it comes to focusing ideas on an innovation area, I learned just how important it is to know the target market. And that takes having real, frank conversations with those users. Our coaches and subject matter experts found actual early adopters in Silicon Valley and steered them to us so that we could ask them questions. What we learned that night heavily influenced our innovation project and convinced me that not knowing a target market is a highly significant innovation mode of failure.

Innovation Boot Camp

While talking with early adopters of robotics, drones, and autonomous vehicles, my team and I learned a great deal that helped us focus the chaos of ideas we’d brainstormed earlier. We spent most of that day learning how to innovate and rank our ideas. It’s amazing how quickly you can generate excellent ideas for problem-solving. Bringing our individual ideas to the team, grouping them, enhancing them, and developing them from that point resulted in some exciting opportunities! Although I had some experience going through this process, Innovation Boot Camp introduced me to concepts such as the scamper method, as well as proven methods for ranking ideas.

Idea generation and ranking were reinforced throughout the boot camp. Think of it as driver’s education for innovation. Each day, Phil McKinney told us to get our books out to generate and rank ideas about an identified problem. Framing the problem was also important, and having some skills reinforced on that first step was essential. This kind of daily practice takes only a few minutes, but it brings great value!

Let’s Go

Zero to sixty in no time! We were already talking to innovation experts on the first day of boot camp, even getting a presentation from Aditya Kaul through a remote presence robot. We toured autonomous vehicle research facilities. Time went by quickly, even though the days were long. Innovation Boot Camp started exactly the way you’d expect: a rapid learning experience that established a strong foundation from which to innovate. We saw:

  • The challenges of the autonomous vehicle space
  • Learned what companies were working on, and understood where their biggest challenges were
  • And at the same time, we were already learning about framing, ideation, ranking, and execution—also known as the FIRE process

When the Boot Camp began, I wondered what it would be like. Was I going to learn enough about autonomous vehicles to actually come up with a good idea? Was I going to learn anything new that would help me step up my innovation game? Could I find a way to take what I learned back to my team and bring more value to CableLabs and its members? Was I going to crash?

Just What I Needed

As I received my certificate on the final day, I knew my time wasn’t wasted, and the return on my investment was high. I had a wonderful time! But it wasn’t just because the food was great or because the location was right. The event staff were fabulous, the topic was interesting, the content was solid, and my team members were fantastic. Our coaches really drove us to success; Lori Lantz, Dan Smith, Christian Pape, and Lisa Warther were great leaders. And Michelle Vendelin was the event master; she guides us and made the whole experience highly valuable! Although the process alone was completely worth the investment, the project outcome was hugely valuable too. I grasped a few new skills, I learned a process I can reference later, and I got some great ideas worth pursuing after the event. I can confidently replicate what I learned, and in fact, I’ve already done that in my job and in my personal life!

Innovation Boot Camp 2018

That 95 percent failure rate for innovation is low-hanging fruit. I can now assuredly do my part to lower that failure rate. Off to the races!

Our next Innovation Boot Camp is September 25-28 in Louisville, Colorado. The topic is Connected in Extreme Weather and Natural Disaster. Register now and don't miss the opportunity to learn a framework and new methods for Innovation that is repeatable and has led to incremental and breakthrough innovation for past attendees.