Innovation Drift, an international Vilnius Innovation forum took place at the conference hall Litexpo last week. Among many others, Kevin Eyres, the first LinkedIn employee outside the United States and former head of the company‘s European department, was be speaking. During his career, Mr. Eyres has been in charge of 3 Silicon Valley companies in Europe. Wired UK, an influential magazine, has included him into the list of 100 most influential business technology people.

During the forum K. Eyres emphasised significance of leadership in framing innovation. Mr. Eyres, who has established his own investment fund, shared his knowledge based on his 25 year long experience in companies that produce global innovations, such as Compaq Computers and LinkedIn.

According to K. Eyres, leaders of hyper-growth companies have to ensure that their team is able to regularly learn new things, be flexible in gaining new skills and most importantly – change their attitudes. In his opinion, constant innovation is a necessity.

“Innovation is not only possible, but also mandatory in order to keep up with hyper-growth. The key is to not expect everyone to innovate. Innovation requires risk and a lot of missteps. Some of the team members need to focus on innovation and others have to deal with operating activities to  enhance growth. Innovation during hyper-growth requires a thoughtful balance”, emphasised Mr. Eyres.

Kevin Eyres joined LinkedIn in 2007 and was the company‘s first employee outside the United States. Once he became LinkedIn‘s executive in Europe, its network had 14 million users worldwide. In 4 years this number increased sevenfold and exceeded 100 million users.

Before joining LinkedIn K. Eyres was the managing director in Kayak, a travel search engine and Alta Vista, one of the first internet search engines ever.

The event was organized by the Ministry of Economy of Lithuania and Agency of Science, Innovation and Technology (MITA). The event was sponsored by the European Regional Development Fund.