WASHINGTON--The best way to get ahead in the mutual fund business might just be to step away from it, commented Tom Kelley, author and general manager of IDEO, a design and consulting firm started in San Francisco.

The keynote speaker of the first general session of the Investment Company Institute's General Membership Meeting here Wednesday, Kelley challenged an audience of about 1,250 mutual fund industry insiders to innovate by looking at old processes from the perspective of an outsider, specifically their customers. 

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