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This week, 352 hosted Pete Dulcamara, Chief Scientist and Technical VP at Kimberly-Clark as he shared his purpose-driven perspective of innovation during this Off the Record conversation. Pete is a seasoned global leader in innovation, research, and engineering, who built his career through enterprises like The Dow Chemical Company and Kimberly-Clark. Robert Berris, SVP of Innovation at 352, moderated a thought-provoking conversation. Here is a brief recap:

The World’s Biggest Problems = The World’s Biggest Opportunities

It was refreshing to hear Pete talk about how Kimberly-Clark and his teams prioritize caring about people as a core value, and what that means for how they think about their work. Kimberly-Clark has evolved over time from a manufacturing and operational excellence company to a more human-centered organization. One source of inspiration for Pete is the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which can be applied to the products and brands his teams work on every day.

Think Digital Can’t Apply to Paper Products? Think Again

Pete shared that he thinks the data from a used product has more value than the product itself. By thinking about everything from diapers to menstrual pads as potential data sources, a different approach to innovation can be uncovered, providing potential health indicators and helping users expand control over their health outcomes. “I tell my teams to think about the Huggies diaper we know today is like a Model T Ford. How do we turn it into a Tesla S?” asked Pete. “One is a complete transformation of the other, but the core components are the same. Think about how you can wrap that into a digital offering?”

Diverse Teams are Key to Winning at Innovation

When asked who the key players are within an innovation team, Pete explained that in his experience, he has seen value in building a cross-functional team composed of experienced design thinkers, product thinkers who use design thinking, and business strategists. Each group is needed to migrate throughout the innovation process, it’s just a matter of timing. You need a group at the beginning who are looking at all the options, then you need a group that’s really decisive. They need to focus on the critical issues, which will have the highest impact on the business. At the end of the process, you need people who can execute. They need to love all the details involved in the spreadsheets. “You need the right team dynamics at the right time, to drive it forward,” said Pete.

Check out these resources to learn more:

Please join us on June 9th at 11AM for our Off the Record with Mike Todasco, Senior Director of Innovation at PayPal. You can RSVP today

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352 is an innovation and growth firm. Leading companies hire us to find billion-dollar opportunities, build killer new products and create hockey-stick growth. We bring grit and new-fashioned thinking to innovation, digital development and growth marketing.