Innovation At Phillips

We hear from Paul Gardien, Vice President Philips Design, about the company's innovation challenges


The Chief Innovation Officer Summit is just around the corner.

Ahead of it, we spoke to Paul Gardien, Vice President Philips Design, about his career which has spanned over a decade at Dutch company Phillips, and how he's been central to their innovation efforts.

What do you see as the key challenge that you are addressing?

While innovating new ideas are generally not the problem, monetizing on ideas is. A root cause is that many developments need to come together for a breakaway innovation to become successful. And execution is often described in a mechanistic way not answering this multi dimensionality.

The key challenge we are addressing is: making dreams come true, by framing ideas in such a way that they will deliver new value and by installing new, collaborative ways of working to enhance the success rate of innovation.

Should teams pushing new innovations be placed outside of the main organisation, in something such as a lab?

Doing innovation entirely for outside the standing business is a slow processes. Contrary to popular believe that everything goes faster nowadays, scaling fundamental new businesses still takes years.

To speed up, innovations need to be based on existing company assets. In my experience making next steps with speed needs a careful balance between central and embedded innovation resources and culture.

Is the job title ‘Head of Innovation’ a symptom of an organisation’s lack of it in their DNA? If so, will these jobs disappear once this is rectified?

Innovation comes in many shapes and forms. Many innovations are needed to enhance current business units of a company, as they are the performance engines that drive revenue.

But another important role of innovation is to inform strategy for new plateaus of performance. It is extremely difficult to do this from within existing businesses, as this almost always entails paradigm changes. Renewing organizations is becoming more and more important and hence the continuing role of a ‘Head of Innovation’.


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