Deborah "Debby" Hopkins
Chief Innovation Officer, Citigroup, and CEO, Citi Ventures
Busy as it is searching for innovative startups in Silicon Valley, the Citi Ventures team also is looking internally at how its giant parent company could benefit from acting more like a startup itself. To that end, one of Debby Hopkins' major tasks over the past year was revamping the research and development process at Citigroup. The R&D labs, which are located around the globe and within different business lines, had been operating independently of each other and with fragmented spending for their projects. Arguing that the best way to achieve a breakthrough is to run a significant volume and variety of experiments, Hopkins led an initiative to improve collaboration among the labs, set up a central "acceleration fund" so they could quickly test promising new ideas, and create a pipeline of projects that all would be able to monitor. Hopkins also got approval to form a Venture Board, consisting of 10 of Citigroup's most senior business leaders. The board offers guidance not only on lab projects, but also in areas such as investing in startups, to help keep the initiatives at Citi Ventures aligned with the company's strategic priorities.