Ask any Chief Innovation Officer (CINO) or Chief Design Officer (CDO) what their highest priorities are, and they will be sure to mention sustainable innovation and championing innovation across the enterprise. It’s tough to build a culture that allows for breakthrough innovation, especially at a large organization.

From Samsung to adidas, here are 3 must-know tips from innovation leaders on how to harness breakthrough ideas and keep the pipeline of innovation going.

1. Be curious & dig deep

Boo-Keun Yoon, President & CEO of Samsung’s Consumer Electronics Division, tells Fast Company Samsung is curious as a company. “We’ve opened design centers around the world that enable us to intimately understand the local culture, the people, lifestyles, and industry trends.” 

Doon-Hoon Change, EVP, Samsung’s Head of Design Strategy, agrees, suggesting an empathic approach is one that allows for optimal collaboration for global teams. “Our products may have to meet specific local needs in different markets, so our new ideas come from experiential visits by designers to towns and cities all over the world.”

And then there is Airbnb cofounder and Chief Product Officer Joe Gebbia, who knows that curiosity aimed at being close to the consumer comes from top down and bottom up. Gebbia’s pursuit of customer-centric innovation is something he admits has tested the resolve of the enterprise. “We used to travel and actually stay with our customers," says Gebbia. "It was the ultimate enlightened empathy…you were so close to the people you were designing for that it informed you in a way that, you know, an online survey never would,” he adds. “So by being so close to our customers we were able to listen to their needs.” (Source: Fast Company.)

2. Cultivate the innovative mindset 

adidas’ website makes sure the quest for enterprise-wide innovation is no secret, stating that one of the best ways to define adidas is through its brand values, one of which is being innovative.   

There is continuous innovation in every area of our business…New ideas and solutions can be found in every office and department around the world.”

Not only do innovation advocates know the significance of articulating innovation as a value, they work to attract and retain workers who also value innovation on an individual basis. 

Mohan Nair, Senior VP & CINO at Cambria Health Solutions, says he encourages all employees to live innovation as a value. “Employees have their own ways of living the cause, and we help them bring those interpretations to life,” reports Forbes.

“Both incremental and transformative, innovation lives within us all. My job is to create the conditions within Cambia so that we all play at our highest level. Healthcare has been innovative in the past but the system has lost its way. Innovation brings us back to why we do what we do.”

Innovation champions outside of health care are just as committed to enterprise-wide collaboration and transfer of knowledge. One such company is Sargento, whose CEO, Lou Gentine, says to drive innovation, you must truly listen to employees. 

“A lot of people like to be given the opportunity to present new ideas. We listen. We have a system that allows for those ideas to be heard,” he tells Insight Magazine.

 3. Find the sweet spot of randomness and structure 

To scale innovation, CINOs say design thinking gives them the structure but necessary “messiness” that comes with innovation.

Clay Marsh, MD, CINO at the OSU Wexner Medical Center, sees the opportunity of incorporating design thinking into heath care innovation. “Part of design is trying to understand the greatest gaps for people and target our solutions specifically to address these problems,” he says. “We really want to be disciplined in our ability to deliver solutions in a timely way.”

Former CEO of OSU Wexner Medical Center, Steven Gabbe, MD, agrees, adding: “In this world of multiple voices and choices, it becomes very noisy [and difficult] to figure out what really matters. We want structured processes in our industry.” 

Citing the creation of the medical center’s innovation enterprise, the IDEA (Innovation, DEsign and Application) Studio in Healthcare and Design, he says they are able to synthesize the needs of a complex group. “As we look at design thinking, we think it blends beautifully with [this] next phase of medicine. Design thinking allows us to understand big gaps and what gaps are specific to certain populations.” (Source: Becker’s Hospital Review.)

Learn more about creating a culture of innovation

Want to know more about gathering research in the field, redefining consumer experiences, and filling your innovation pipeline? Get a copy of the presentation given by John Klick, an innovation leader at Pfizer, and Batterii's CEO Kevin Cummins, to find out how Pfizer is scaling design thinking to over 70k employees worldwide.

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