Nearly 80 forward-thinking executives, thought leaders, analysts, partners, policy makers, and academics came together for Catalant’s Reimagining Work Summit Fall 2018 at 9OFS in Boston, MA.
The agenda was chock full of discussion on market-shaping trends, frontline lessons learned, and data-driven insights about the unrelenting speed and forces of disruption, best practices on accelerating innovation and growth with operational excellence, and the myriad of implications for companies, leaders, and workforces.
While the Summit was an intimate day of peer-to-peer learning, the companies in attendance collectively represented nearly $1.6 trillion in annual revenue and just under 2 million employees across the globe.
Rapidly Innovate With Agility
“The pace of change will never be slower than it is today,” observed Sue Siegel, GE Chief Innovation Officer & CEO of Business Innovations, in her keynote presentation. Wayfair’s Head of Talent Kate Gulliver noted that “speed is everything,” while Uber’s North American General Manager Meghan Joyce discussed how the principles of agility and rapid problem-solving played a critical role in Uber’s ability to scale across the globe.
Speakers consistently reiterated the need for agility and the willingness to leverage a diverse ecosystem of skills and perspectives in order to innovate
The pace of change will never be slower than it is today.”
Raquel Suarez Global HR, Innovation & Leadership Development Director at Unilever, noted that rapid innovation requires business leaders to have immediate access to both leading external expertise and the best ideas from employees across their company.
Innovation necessitates both a new mindset and new tactics, said Scott Kirsner, columnist at The Boston Globe and editor and co-founder of Innovation Leader. Kirsner advised companies to let innovation occur organically while encouraging leaders to foster a culture of experimentation and a willingness to take calculated risks.
According to Kirsner, innovation should be integrated into goals of every project and the agenda of every meeting, rather than limited to occasional discussions between limited groups of employees.
Catalant’s Co-CEO and Co-Founder Pat Petitti observed that “innovation is synonymous with growth” across sectors and industries, and that companies have no choice but to make it a core competency in a world of increasing disruption. Petitti encouraged companies to think about disruption across every facet of their organizations, including the need to disrupt their own businesses and operations when an opportunity to better serve customers arises.
Map the Right Skills and Expertise to the Right Work
As enterprises face intense pressure to innovate and move faster, Bryan Fontaine, Executive Vice President of Global Operations and Corporate Development Engineering at Bose Corporation, advised leaders to think differently about work itself.
Fontaine believes in developing strategic initiatives around the critical results a company is trying to achieve, then breaking these initiatives down into distinct, targeted projects. Dynamically matching projects to the identified skills of your employees — or tapping into external expertise when needed — makes it much more likely that a business will execute against its most important objectives. Fontaine underscored the urgency of getting the right people on the right projects, noting that, “You don’t get great results without great people.”
You don’t get great results without great people.”
Companies like Unilever tackle the challenge of effectively deploying their most valuable employees by upskilling human resources departments and making HR a key strategic partner to business leaders. Establishing strong communication between HR, business leaders, and high-caliber employees allows leaders to effectively deploy the right skills to accomplish mission critical work.
Craig Driscoll, Partner at Highland Capital and Deborah Quazzo, Managing Partner at GSV AcceleraTE, both highlighted adult education and professional skills-based training platforms as crucial areas of focus for both venture capital and corporate investment.
Matt Jahansouz, Managing Director and Head of Human Capital Management Strategy and Branding at Goldman Sachs, echoed this belief from the corporate perspective, discussing the need for companies of all types to invest heavily in skills training and develop a more in-depth understanding of the skills that exist across their current workforce.
Align People, Process, and Technology
While adapting to change presents challenges to organizations of all types, new technology offers a unique opportunity to fundamentally improve employee experiences and engagement while increasing effectiveness.
Caroline Missen, Business Advisor to Downstream Director at Shell, shared the importance of using technology to allow employees across a company to access new projects and opportunities to develop their skills. Empowering a Shell engineer in Egypt to take on a stretch opportunity with a colleague in the United States and feel more connected to a global enterprise is just one example of the interpersonal and business value of new tools.
Sue Siegel underscored the need for companies to invest in transformational technologies. Forward-looking companies, she said, should take advantage of technology available to help them better understand and manage their internal employees, as well as centralize and access external talent.
AB InBev’s VP of People and Management Fabio Kapitanovas also pointed to the need to remain aware of digital transformation and potential roadblocks to internal progress, specifically when it comes to project management. The solution, he said, is to leverage technology that allows teams to break functional silos and accurately track projects, people, and outcomes across teams.
Check out what some of our guest speakers are saying:
“Fantastic conference – surfacing some of the latest thinking and experimentation around the future of work. Sue Siegel and Pat Petitti are true trail-blazers, challenging others to follow.”
We will hold similar conferences in other cities in 2019. If you are interested in attending a future event, please let us know.
Learn more about how your company can partner with Catalant to improve innovation, get the right people on the right projects, and quickly complete the most mission critical work.
To view more presentations from the Reimagining Work Summit, visit our SlideShare.