The IRI conference attracts Leaders in Innovation from all over the globe to talk about everything R&D. While these companies span a wide variety of industries, many innovators were seeking solutions to similar problems. We met Dr. Anita Sommer, Senior Innovation Manager for LEGO, to hear how innovators can become overwhelmed by a fear of sharing and how to build trust throughout your company.
“I know there is this fear of sharing and opening up because there are risks,” said Dr. Sommer, Senior Innovation Manager, LEGO Group, in our conversation at the 2019 IRI Annual in Pittsburgh. “Are they just going to just suck the knowledge out of us and just leave?”
But as Dr. Sommer points out, there’s risk in any relationship. Even if you have NDAs and contracts, you’ll still need trust as that’s critical for any strategic partnership. Innovators thrive on trust, especially over the long term. If they are working with different companies they have to trust that the relationship can withstand the time it takes to innovate. She explains innovators are a more patient form of employee. She likens salespeople to wolves, always trying to go for the next kill. Conversely, innovators are like farmers. They want ideas to grow. They understand new ideas and products take longer and during that time you have to be careful and very focused.
Dr. Sommer believes that the ability to trust is generally higher in the companies she has studied in her research, since they are based in Denmark. She cites Denmark as being one of the must trusting countries in the world, with very low corruption and high level of equality.
Watch what she has to say about it here:
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