Kris Pederson of IBM Global Business Services

Kris Pederson - IBM Global Business ServicesKris Pederson fashions herself a “business doctor.” And it’s an apt title, as Pederson, vice president and partner of IBM Global Business Services, started her undergrad education in a pre-med program at UCLA. “From about five, I wanted to be a doctor,” she says. However, she quickly found that the softer skills involved with medicine were much more compelling, and she used that interest to go into business and get her MBA from Harvard Business School. But she still sees the parallels in her initial career choice and her role at IBM. “Instead of physical pain, you’re sorting out business pain.”

At IBM, Pederson is taking on the colossal task of benchmarking innovation. “There’s this whole focus now at IBM around client value, and my piece has really been how you actually quantifiably deliver results to a client.”

To that end, in 2004, she developed the Open Standards Benchmarking Collaborative (OSBC), a benchmarking model that standardizes process definitions. “We’ve got 4,000 companies that have participated in this thing,” Pederson says. “It’s almost the Linux of benchmarking,” she says.
Now Pederson is steeped a new project: the Open Innovation Index (OII). “We [at IBM] thought: Is there a way to take the success with this OSBC into the innovation metrics game?” One of the goals of the OOI, which she is developing in collaboration with consultancy Innosight and nonprofit benchmarking organization APQC, Pederson says, is to foster collaboration and as such has developed archetypes so businesses can know where they fall among their peers.

Pederson’s personal life is not without some innovation as well. As a working wife and mother, she has to creatively balance a heavy travel schedule with spending time with husband, Rob, and 4-year-old daughter Jordan. “For me it was really focusing on my career first and then doing the family stuff a little bit later when I had more flexibility and more background, and credibility that I could get the job done no matter where I was.”

And Pederson believes in sharing her success: Through her involvement with the Association of Management Consulting Firms’ Women’s Initiative, she has embraced a leadership position, explaining that it’s important for women to see themselves as collaborators, not competitors. “What we really need to do,” she says, “is help women be successful in their companies regardless of which companies they are.”

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