VP says she climbed the tech ladder to Amazon by learning ‘innovation as a skill’ | #theCUBE


Creative innovation is a coveted trait in many industries — particularly technology. Yet it is arguably not well understood, and its processes are not plainly explained. Seeing how valuable innovation is not only to tech companies, but to individuals and whole societies, Mai-Lan Tomsen Bukovec said that it ought to be taught as a skill.

Tomsen Bukovec, VP and GM of S3 at Amazon Web Services, said that innovation isn’t magic — it just takes a willingness to wade into unfamiliar waters.

She told Lisa Martin (@Luccazara), host of theCUBE*, SiliconANGLE Media’s mobile live streaming studio, why she the topic of innovation for her speech at the CloudNOW 5th Annual “Top 10 Women in Cloud” Innovation Awards. (*Disclosure below) CloudNow is a non-profit consortium of leading women in cloud computing and converging technologies.

“My topic was how to cultivate innovation as a skill,” she said. “My main focus was to make sure that people understand that you’re not just born with innovation.” She stated that a cycle of experimenting, learning and iterating is what births innovation and added that this philosophy has been key to AWS’ success story.

Inspiration x innovation

Tomsen Bukovec went on to talk about how she learned for herself the importance of technological innovation for people, companies and communities.

She had a degree in creative writing and history when she took off to Africa to work in community development. She said she was struck by the difference technology made in people’s lives. “That technology could be as simple as having a bicycle, or it could be as impactful as having a satellite phone,” she said.

Tomsen Bukovec returned to America and began night and weekend programming classes. “I threw myself into some of the most hardcore server technologies, because I was curious and I wanted to learn,” she said.

She said she owes her current success to not putting herself in a box or saying to herself that she is solely an X or Y type of professional. “The more you say that, the more you can unconsciously say what you’re not good at,” Tomsen Bukovec stated.

Watch the complete video interview below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE and theCUBE’s coverage of the CloudNOW – 5th Annual “Top 10 Women in Cloud” Innovation Awards. (*Disclosure: Some segments on SiliconANGLE Media’s theCUBE are sponsored. However, no sponsorships have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

 Photo by SiliconANGLE