Sustainable innovation and excellence in product development

In this MIT Sloan School of Management lecture on sustaining innovation, the CEO of W.L. Gore & Associates, Terri Kelly, has some great insights on how creative knowledge environments drive profitability.

W.L. Gore is a diverse and innovative company, creating products ranging from GORETEX to surgical devices. Kelly stresses to give your team the right tools, promote the right culture, maintain minimal bureaucracy, have high expectations for networking within the organization to connect and share knowledge, and recognize that leaders are “leaders” only if people actually want to follow them.

Define what you believe, define your guiding principles, define your core values, and define key disciplines. Use these four elements as the framework around which culture is nurtured, all the while recognizing that these elements must work as a system; any one element does not ensure success…it’s the interrelatedness of the components that promotes success. Culture is an active investment in terms of time, energy, and dollars, not a cost.

For W.L. Gore, this investment in culture results in amazing products like OPTIFADE hunting gear (play this game to see how it works). Obviously, W.L. Gore is doing something right. This Kelly lecture is well-worth 54 minutes of your time to gain some amazing insights.

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