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Engaging the Workforce in Innovation Initiatives: An Interview with Stephen Garguilo

Submitted by: Marcus Evans Ltd.

Categories: Events, Business Ethics

Posted: Jul 28, 2015 – 04:36 PM EST

 

BOSTON, Jul. 28 /CSRwire/ - (Marketwired) - Innovation as a buzzword is a thing of the past with organizations understanding it is a necessity to survive and stay relevant in the ever-changing market. Organizations are looking at structuring innovation process from ideation to commercialization to optimize their innovation pipeline.

Stephen Garguilo, Head of Instigation at Johnson & Johnson recently spoke with marcusevans about these and other key topics to be discussed at their upcoming 6th Annual Process Driven Innovation Conference, September 22-23, 2015 in Boston, MA.

Your case study covers motivating the workforce to participate in innovation initiatives, can you speak to how you have been able to apply this at Johnson & Johnson?

Steve Garguilo: About four years ago while working in our Consumer group focused on Emerging Markets, I started to recognize how difficult it can be sometimes to try to make new ideas happen in a big company. So I thought, "What can be ways to bring people together to talk about ideas more?" and decided to organize a TEDx event. We organized a small event for 60 people upstairs in a bar after hours, no budget, no permission, and then all of a sudden other teams around the world throughout J&J were asking if they could organize TEDxJNJ events, too. All told, four years later, we've had TEDxJNJ events in over 40 different countries around the world and have established a great way for people to come together to have critical, authentic dialogue about new ideas.

What is your process/strategy for staying ahead of the curve in innovation and continuously generating and pursuing creative and unique innovation culture initiatives?

SG: The biggest ingredient for anyone's inherent personal creativity is diversity of experiences and knowledge, so I intentionally expose myself to myriad different kinds of things, from crazy travel adventures to random online courses to different kinds of people. Each of these serves to plant seeds in my brain that I have no idea where they will grow later, but they're now all up there. The best thing any individual can do is be intentional about getting that diversity and the best thing any organization can do is be intentional about helping expose their employees to that diversity. The next thing organizations should do is support that with intentional structure, process, tools, and "safe spaces" where individuals are incentivized and supported in trying new things, failing fast, prototyping solutions, challenging the status quo, and actively working to do things differently.

What, in your experience, is the greatest benefit you've seen from encouraging the workforce to participate in innovation?

SG: When you have a more open, authentic, creative workforce, there are tremendous benefits. We've seen business development stories from a new telemedicine solution to an accelerated pathway to development for an artificial pancreas to a new disease state being added to our list of priorities. We've also seen great people development stories with employees going from being actively disengaged at work to being incredibly re-engaged and committed. We've also seen various employee initiatives instigated and supported from employee gardens to newly designed workspaces. I get really excited when I see people really change the way they approach work and actively work to further promote creativity in their teams. To me, these stories are the best things. We do, of course, also have "metrics" such as 99% of people reporting that we've increased their willingness and ability to challenge the status quo, 99% of people reporting that we've increased their engagement at work, 99% of people feeling better prepared to pursue new ideas in the workplace, the most viewed web content within the Johnson & Johnson intranet, and Net Promoter Scores of anywhere from +86 to +99 for our programs.

What is your strategy for harnessing the scattered ideas from across the organization into a clear innovation strategy? How do you engage the workforce throughout the process?

SG: Our senior leadership in each of our business units (from our Consumer Group leadership to our Medical Devices leadership to our Pharmaceutical teams leadership and beyond) are ultimately responsible for determining what ideas to best harness and support as part of their business strategies. My role in working to instigate a culture of innovation and help support people as they take personal accountability to tenaciously pursue their ideas is to help people determine exactly where to take those ideas and how to modify them and how to figure out getting them supported throughout the system. Our workforce is highly engaged in that process four years into our journey with just over 10,000 people (out of 128,000 employees) engaged in our community sharing ideas and working to make their ideas happen.

What do you hope attendees will take away from your session? ...From the conference as a whole?

SG: Many "innovation programs" at large companies take a top-down approach, whereas in our experience we've really benefited from having a bottoms-up approach with of course the right top-down support where it makes sense. People can stop hiring horrible, cliché innovation consultancies and start supporting the creators and instigators and troublemakers already existing inside their companies to really realize an innovative culture.

From the conference as a whole, I hope people take away all the dozens of examples they'll have heard about ways companies are driving innovation and then not go to any more conferences and simply start working and making their programs happen.

Stephen will be leading the session "Write Permission Slips for People to Innovate Everyday" on Tuesday, September 22 at the 6th Annual Process Driven Innovation Conference in Boston, MA.

Building on the success of the marcusevans innovation conference series, the 6th Annual Process Driven Innovation Conference will assemble executives charged with navigating every facet of the innovation pipeline and analyze groundbreaking methodologies to effectively manage a multi-tiered innovation portfolio, cultivate a culture that embraces risk and creativity, and generate metrics to monitor the effectiveness, efficiency, and viability of initiatives across the innovation pipeline.

For more information regarding this conference, including pricing and registration, please contact Abby Wilson, Media & PR Coordinator, at (312) 894-6313 or abbyw@marcusevansch.com.

About marcusevans

marcus evans conferences annually produce over 2,000 high quality events designed to provide key strategic business information, best practice and networking opportunities for senior industry decision-makers. Our global reach is utilized to attract over 30,000 speakers annually; ensuring niche focused subject matter presented directly by practitioners and a diversity of information to assist our clients in adopting best practice in all business disciplines.

For more information, please contact:

Abby Wilson Media & PR Coordinator, marcus evans
Phone: (312) 894-6313

 

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