It is difficult to explain how inspiring it is to work with the collective brain of 1000 innovative people
I am Vice President, Marketing, Research and Development, and responsible for steering and driving innovation within Smurfit Kappa.
What does your role entail?
Two elements are key to my role:
Firstly, we believe it is best for our customers to have local innovation, which is why I use the word steer and not manage. We serve our customers, by innovating close to their business, their market and their manufacturing. We centrally steer and coordinate this, building a scientific basis to ensure that we offer our customers a reliable and workable solution.
Secondly, we enable cross-learning among our staff to make sure all our innovations are available for all of our customers. Can you imagine how inspiring it is to work with the collective brain of 1000 innovative people, but that is what happens in Smurfit Kappa.
I am also responsible for marketing and customer support. Our customer-driven innovation reflects the way we organise ourselves. That is the reason we choose the unusual combination of placing marketing, customer support and research and development into one cohesive unit. This successful formula provides our marketing and customer-driven personnel with the latest insights and innovations and our R&D staff with the latest customer needs.
What constitutes a good innovation for you?
A good innovation inspires and excites. It is typical things like, ‘Wow, that is clever, why haven’t we thought of that?’ However, most importantly it has to be linked to a customer need, solving a problem, or creating value.
How do you inspire innovation in packaging?
We are a people business; so we are totally focused on inspiring our people using a variety of formal and informal processes and tools. The worldwide Innovation Awards and the ‘InnoTools’ are just two examples from many. What makes us a really unique company is the inspiring culture. We never stop searching for innovation; we always want to find out, to discover, to prove. It is this culture that is inspirational and everybody in management supports and drives this culture. Including me.