What are the catalysts to innovation? We ponder that question regularly at Juniper, because new ideas are the fuel that drives our success as a company. The goal is to create a culture that sparks curiosity and nurtures creative thinking.
History tells us that innovators thrive in such nurturing environments. Ada Lovelace, credited with writing the first computer program in the 1840s, received powerful encouragement from her mother to pursue a keen mathematical proficiency, bucking the norms for women of her era. Many other tech pioneers similarly succeeded by being allowed to be their authentic selves, and through that authenticity, gave the world revolutionary new ways to solve problems.
For that reason, authenticity is one of the core values at Juniper.
“We want our colleagues to bring all of who they are to work each day,” says Felicia Mayo, Juniper’s VP of Global Talent Acquisition and Authenticity and Inclusion. “We believe this allows freedom of thought and perspectives that enable you to innovate.”
Mayo notes that Juniper has embarked on several initiatives to broaden its demographics and perspective to foster innovation in this way. Women in Technology (WeTech), for example, is a partnership with the Institute of International Education. The program encourages women to pursue their talents in STEM through college scholarships and paid internships.
In the TechWomen professional mentorship and exchange program, Juniper has mentored women in the Middle East and North Africa, sending employees to Kazakhstan, Rwanda, Tunisia, and Zimbabwe.
In the Intern Summer Showcase, university student interns present their summer projects to all Juniper employees. The program offers a sweeping diversity of perspectives, connecting Juniper with both next-generation and multicultural talent.
Millennials have been known to change the course of history at Juniper. Jerry Ibrahim, Juniper’s VP of Emerging Technologies, recalls one such case. “An intern helped us discover that through a robust user experience process, we could communicate a vision for a new product concept more effectively.” As a result, he says, “We’re changing our innovation process to make UX an integral upfront step.”
The tech industry moves at a breakneck pace, spurred by disruptive new ideas. “Our success, and the success of our industry, depend on innovation,” says Juniper CEO Rami Rahim. “I believe that innovation, in turn, depends on the intersection of diverse ideas—and you cannot have a diversity of ideas without having a diversity of people and an inclusive workplace.”