Widen, a maker of digital asset management (DAM) and product information management (PIM) software, announced that Deanna Ballew, formerly VP of Product Development at Widen, has been named Chief Innovation Officer (CINO). In her new role, Ballew will lead Widen’s efforts to identify emerging businesses, conduct R&D on new technologies, and develop a long-term innovation strategy.
“Deanna’s talent as a technologist, strategist, and mentor has transformed Widen over the past 16 years. More than a dozen of our leaders grew into their role under her mentorship,” said Matthew Gonnering, CEO of Widen. “Deanna is a role model to everyone in our company and community, and especially to young women who’ve grown up seeing too few women in C-suite roles. Deanna embodies the spirit of Widen, and we would not be where we are today without her. We are honored to name Deanna our first Chief Innovation Officer.”
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Since joining Widen in 2004, Ballew has been instrumental in building Widen’s cloud-based DAM platform into a global market leader. After a decade working on Widen’s SaaS software and infrastructure, Ballew progressed into Director- and VP-level roles, where she modernized Widen’s product development methodology and paved the way to important breakthroughs.
These include the 2016 launch of Widen Asset Level Analytics, which changed reporting throughout the DAM industry by enabling marketing organizations to better measure the ROI of their system and marketing channels. Ballew also piloted Widen’s transparent product roadmap, published annually at the Widen Summit, which enables customers to preview upcoming releases and weigh in on future products. In conjunction, Ballew founded Widen’s customer feedback program, which has cultivated intimate customer relationships and new research methodologies to identify the true needs of users, not just feature ideas.
Most recently, Ballew developed Widen’s customer-first innovation program that embraces user-centered design and ensures that value is delivered by solving real user problems. It led to the creation of Widen Portals, a customer favorite, and the new product information management (PIM) system, part of Widen’s DAM+PIM offering for retail, consumer goods, and manufacturing brands.
As CINO and head of Widen’s new Emerging Businesses Department, Ballew will identify future innovation areas, use cases, and markets for Widen. She also will continue to lead Widen’s exploration into new immersive and illuminating technologies that can build on Widen’s strengths.
In addition to her role at Widen, Ballew is active with gener8tor, a Madison-based startup accelerator, and ELITE, a community of technology leaders based in Milwaukee. A sought-after speaker and contributor on innovation, Ballew has been featured on Delve Talks, AiThority, This is Product Management, and MarTech Series. Her writing has appeared on Forbes and Toolbox.
“Innovation happens when you see a problem and then have the tenacity to work through that problem to find a better way. Every obstacle I encounter is an opportunity to innovate—whether that be with new processes, new skills, or bringing new businesses into the market,” said Ballew. “Being part of the growth at Widen provides me with plenty of obstacles. The community and culture that we have built allows me to embrace each of these as creative opportunities.”
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