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Complexity is the defining business and leadership challenge of our time. But it has never felt more urgent than this moment.
Complexity is the defining business and leadership challenge of our time. But it has never felt more urgent than this moment, with the coronavirus upending life and business as we know it. For the past few months, we’ve been talking to leaders about what it takes to lead through the most complex and confounding problems, including the pandemic. Today we talk with John Banovetz, 3M’s Senior Vice President of Innovation and Stewardship, and Chief Technology Officer. John is responsible for 3M’s R&D function, innovation processes and its Stewardship Group, which includes 3M’s Environmental, Health & Safety and product stewardship functions.
David Benjamin and David Komlos: How has the pandemic changed 3M’s approach to innovation?
John Banovetz: The biggest change has been to our collaboration model. We’ve done more external collaborations than ever. For example, we’ve had great collaborations with Ford Motor and Cummins Engines – with Ford on designing a powered air-purifying respirator, and Cummins to increase the production of high-efficiency filters for personal protective equipment. It has been great to learn from them, partner with them, and really collaborate with them.
The pandemic has changed how we think about innovation. We’ve gone from being somewhat insular to being very open to connecting with external companies; from a place where 3M has the technology, the capabilities, the ability to solve the problem on our own – to a model where there are partners who can teach us some things and help us move even faster.