Building and Growing a Culture of Innovation Subject of Talk at New Vi Hubs Location

Photo: Jesper Helt, Michael Abboud and Simon Nynens Photo Credit: Jim Scott

Jesper Helt, Michael Abboud and Simon Nynens | Jim Scott

James Barrood, president and CEO of the NJ Tech Council, officially launched the new Vi Hubs coworking and collaboration space, located in the refurbished Russel Hall, at Fort Monmouth (Oceanport).  

He did so on Friday during “Breakfast Bytes,” an early morning meeting of the NJ Strategic Design + Tech meetup group. 

The meeting came near the end of a busy tech week in New Jersey. During that week, the NJ Tech Council had partnered with a number of tech meetups and others to hold Jersey Innovation Week, a cluster of events highlighting the New Jersey tech, entrepreneurship and innovation scene.

Jesper Helt, chief human resources officer at Commvault (Tinton Falls), moderated a discussion between Simon Nynens, chairman and CEO of Wayside Technology Group (Eatontown), and Michael Abboud, founder and CEO of TetherView.

Commvault is a publicly traded data-protection and information-management software company; Wayside Technology Group’s mission is to “deliver easy access to superior tech”; and TetherView specializes in providing a private business cloud with high security, high availability and high compliance.

The panelists focused on how to build and grow a culture of innovation, and the unique challenges of working with a diverse and highly talented work force.

“It is about execution, not just ideas” said Nynens, who added that employees need to be recognized and valued in a company. When recruiting, “never take the pedigree, always take the underdog,” he advised. Also, treat your team like a family, even if that means trusting employees who have made mistakes in the past to not make them again.

Abboud shared how hard, but important, it is to share information in a technology company. He said that once TetherView left the startup stage, he educated his sales team on how difficult the technology is in his company.

Helt noted that at Commvault, 15 percent of employee time is allowed for “skunk works” projects, which are researched and developed by employees primarily for the sake of radical innovation. Employees come up with new ideas all the time, and are encouraged to bring their ideas to hackathons and to share them with the company, Helt said.

Chris Pallé and Sean Donohue, the cofounders of Vi Hubs, were also present. They spoke to prospective coworkers at the meeting, who enjoyed a free day pass to New Jersey’s newest coworking space. Oceanport is very close to the beach, and for a limited time new tenants will be receiving a free beach pass when they sign up, they told the group.

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