During my 30 years at Shell, I’ve worked at all levels of the company, with many people, through the highs and the lows of the market. One thing I find consistent across time is the need for an open, transparent environment that fosters innovation and collaboration.
The 2012 IBM CEO Study confirms that a majority of 1,700 CEOs agree that is more true than ever — that technology, partnerships and collaboration will be critical factors for successful companies over the next three to five years.
Being innovative requires us to be forward-thinking and constantly look at how we can change our products and services to meet the needs of everyone — employees, partners, clients and customers. It demands we always look for ways to improve ourselves and what we do.
Here’s an example: Shell used to sell motorcycle oil in 1-liter containers in Thailand, but many motorcycles there only require ¾-liter for regular oil changes. That meant our customers had to find space to store the leftover oil. A Shell employee noted this, and we changed the container size to ¾ liter.
As a result, our market share in Thailand grew substantially — to 80 percent. The new container is now being offered in the Philippines as well. Simple ideas like this, geared toward improving our offerings to meet our customer’s needs, are true innovations that create value.
To extend the innovation cycle outside of an organization, it is essential to cultivate strategic partnerships. The right partners can open up new avenues for innovation, as well as generate new ideas to tackle complex problems. Leading ideas can be developed when companies agree on an innovation model and work cooperatively to develop creative solutions together.
For example, at Shell we are working with IBM and other leading global companies from different industries to address future stresses on our energy, water and food systems. All three systems are interconnected, and there is a pressing need to better understand those interconnections so society can make the best decisions in managing its resources.
This is a case where driving innovation together, across different industries and boundaries, just makes sense.
Shell has been a technology pioneer for more than a century. Together with our partners, we look forward to using our expertise to address these challenges. We will continue to innovate to provide the energy that powers and sustain our lives.
Watch the video ‘partnering to drive innovation.’
Download the Shell INSIDE ENERGY app for iPad to explore interactive stories on innovation.