I Swiss Innovation Day

01/Dec/2021 - Webinário

Corporate Ambidexterity – The journey of management transformation

On November 11th, the I Swiss Innovation Day took place, organized by SWISSCAM and mediated by Marcelo Veras, Coordinator of the Innovation Committee. The event had the theme “Corporate Ambidexterity – The journey of management transformation” and had the opening of the President, H. Philip Schneider.

At the opening of the event, we were also honored to receive the Swiss Ambassador to Brazil, Mr. Pietro Lazzeri, who pointed out innovation as a priority issue in Switzerland. “We have been leading the ranking of most innovative countries for 11 consecutive years. Everyone wants to know how we achieve these results. I can highlight some main factors: 1 – A close relationship between private and public initiative; 2 – An academic training aimed at promoting new talents; 3 – Adequate legislation that favors research; 4 – A migration policy that attracts the best brains; 5 – A culture of ingrained innovation.”

According to him, Switzerland is closely following Brazil’s advances in the field of research and technological development. “The two countries have several cooperation agreements, at the federal and state level, with organizations such as EMBRAPII, CNPQ, FAPESP and CONFAP. We also support Brazilian startups through SWISSNEX.”

What is corporate ambidexterity?

The first speaker was Luis Rasquilha, CEO of Inova Consulting, who briefly explained what corporate ambidexterity is. “Ambidexterity, as the name suggests, is having skills on both sides. In an organization, this means being efficient in managing the business on a daily basis and, at the same time, being innovative while thinking about the business in the future. In other words, it is to ensure that the company works well today, but also adapts to the changes that will occur in the market.” And how to do this? For Luis Rasquilla, it is important that the entire company team has the same ambidextrous mindset, regardless of position or area of ​​expertise. In addition, companies must map trends in order to study the right strategies to adopt. “What brought you here will not take you into the future. The company needs to ask itself what it needs to do today to remain in the market for the next 10 years.”

Corporate ambidexterity in practice

Ricardo Neves, CEO of NTT Data, brought a practical view on the issue and shared with us his experience in a company that invests 3.6 billion in the development of new technologies. “NTT Data has several actions to promote innovation, including the Innovation Lab, a team 100% dedicated to mapping the market, studying new developments and getting in touch with startups, hubs and Universities. We also carried out a very cool action, which is a kind of internal “Sharktank”, in which the company’s employees present new ideas and the best ones are chosen.” Ricardo Neves strongly emphasized the need to train employees and improve internal relationships. “Our company’s main asset is employee knowledge. Today, what makes the difference is people’s ability to use new technologies. Therefore, it is essential to train employees and involve them in new projects.”

Carolina Sevciuc, Director of Digital Transformation at Nestlé Brasil, has a daily mission to innovate in one of the most consolidated and traditional companies in the world. “Despite being well established in the food market, Nestlé knows that it cannot stop thinking about the future. A very near future, actually. Here at Nestlé, we have a portfolio of products created for the current moment and for the medium term. Scenarios change quickly and technologies become obsolete within a few months. For this, Nestlé has an area focused on digital transformation, which is divided into 3 fields: Innovation, IT and Brand Lab.” Carolina Sevciuc also pointed out the importance of employees in this process of continuous transformation. “Our luck is that we have 22 thousand employees, who are also consumers.”

Among all the speakers, Gabriel Frank perhaps is the one who has the biggest challenge ahead. He works as People & Culture Director at Philip Morris, a company whose main activity is the sale of tobacco. In a world with fewer and fewer smokers, change was practically imposed to the company. “Philip Morris today has the purpose of building a new company, focused on technology and aiming at adults who are unwilling or unable to quit smoking. For 13 years we have supported a smoke-free world by investing in products that are less harmful to smokers, such as electronic cigarettes. Here in Brazil, electronic cigarettes have not yet been approved by regulatory agencies, but we already work with this product in other countries and we are getting ready.” Achieving such radical change requires a great effort from the team, as Gabriel Frank explained: “We reinvented the company’s internal culture and its organizational structure. We currently have 9 “squad” teams that work closely with customers, distributors and retailers. We try to convey to our employees the idea that they should not fall in love with the product, but with their problems.”

Our last speaker, Renato Carvalho, President of Novartis Brasil, shared his experience as the leader of one of the most renowned pharmaceutical companies in the world. “Novartis invests around 10 billion a year in research and development. We offer from products that cost a few reais to therapies that cost millions of reais. Our challenge is to find the balance between performing and transforming. The pharmaceutical market is a delicate field, as we run into regulatory issues.” He also noted that Novartis is going through transformation, which includes investments in innovations in the healthcare system and digital therapies, collaborations with startups, as well as an internal cultural transformation. “Novartis Brasil has a guideline called “Own Boss” (Own Boss), in which the employee has autonomy to make decisions. This gives more confidence to employees and makes decision-making faster.”

Corporate ambidexterity seems to be a fundamental skill to keep companies alive in the market. For those interested and wanting to know more about the subject, this event was recorded and it is available in our members’ area, on the SWISSCAM website.