Saturday, March 9, 2013

Revitalizing Growth and Innovation in the World's Oldest Innovative Company

Keynote by Sir George Buckley, recently retired CEO for 3M.

Right from the outset Sir George connected with the audience with his quiet humility, and without slides, captured the audience's attention with his stories, statistics and insights.

It is no small task leading a company that has had 'innovation' part of their tagline for the past 30 years, has over 75,000 different products, and produces 1,500 new products a year. Sir George shared how he 'kept people believing', and between 2005 - 2012 quadrupled their innovative output (higher than any other time in company history) with employee satisfaction doubling, and the stock price up 60%.

Used as a tool, we were told how innovation can make your company more competitive, increase shareholder value, and create opportunities for employees - compelling stuff. 3M products are known for performing better and lasting longer. To keep ahead of the competition they look to put 3-4 world-class technologies into a product, not just one.

"If you can't turn the innovation into money in some way, some how, at some time, then it won't be a sustainable innovation."

3M provides 15% free time to employees to explore their ideas. This takes a lot of trust and Sir George stressed the importance of leadership and a deep commitment by the CEO for the right environment to be created.


Dr Claire McGowan is founding Director of Commercialisation Advisors Limited (COMMA) and been actively involved in technology commercialisation and investment. She has a PhD in Molecular Microbiology and MBA from Otago University, Dunedin, New Zealand. She has experience in the venture capital and investment banking industries, as well as personally building and growing companies. Her passion is in assisting entrepreneurs and inventors to build successful companies. She achieves this through her board roles on research and investment organisations and IP Market, as well as her Chair role with The Executive Connection (TEC). @clairemcgowan @ipmarket

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