Hyundai, Gilead Sciences, and Charlene Li on Innovation Now

By  |  May 12, 2020, 10:10 AM  |  Techonomy Exclusive


Our CDX Digital Roundtable series recently welcomed leading innovation experts from Gilead Sciences and Hyundai as well as digital transformation expert and author, Charlene Li. All of them are leveraging external innovation to drive digital business transformation.

The Art of Innovation with Gilead Sciences The Democratization of Innovation

The Art of Innovation with Gilead Sciences

Author and digital transformation thought leader, Charlene Li said companies are not slowing down their initiatives amidst the crisis. She previewed fresh research and reported that “35% of the firms surveyed are investing in digital growth initiatives…and half are investing more in digital transformation.” She also discussed emerging best practices around accelerating digital transformation and said “digital transformation never happens in a vacuum.” With teams now working remotely, we are now seeing “the democratization of innovation,” as companies drive “exponential transformation” by leveraging small digital transformation wins across the organization.

A Culture Shift is Driving Digital Transformation

Charlene Li was joined by Mark Kenneally, Head of IT Innovation and UX at drug-maker Gilead Sciences. Gilead has been in the news with their Covid-19 anti-viral drug candidate Remdesivir. Kenneally explained that Gilead brought in a new management team over the last eighteen months, in part to foster a culture of innovation. The Remdesivir experience, he said,  “has brought everything together.” The new culture helped enable the drug to receive emergency use authorization by the FDA just 90 days after the first Covid-19 case was discovered.

The company’s cultural shift has also included an embrace of external innovation. “The traditional R&D process will be massively disrupted,” said Kenneally, ”and the new leadership is focused on partnerships – including the CFO – so it’s only going to grow and grow as we go forward.” With regard to Gilead’s ongoing digital transformation, he added that the primary evolution across the industry is putting the patient first, and noted “this is not a role that pharma has played in the past, as pharma has always been filtered through the care providers”. Moving forward, he said, “the entire organization now puts the patient at the center of everything that we do.”

Hyundai CRADLE: Accelerating Business Model Innovation

Finally, we welcomed John Suh, the vice presiednt and founding director of Hyundai Motor Group’s CRADLE unit.  It includes a global network of corporate venture and open innovation hubs. The mission of CRADLE – with offices in Silicon Valley, Tel Aviv, Beijing and, soon, Singapore – is to help Hyundai “accelerate the introduction of new technologies and new business models to help the transformation of the company.”

Hyundai’s approach to open innovation had been evolving prior to the COVID 19 crisis. Suh noted that “we have been changing how we do open innovation for about a year…and the big change was to involve other divisions.” He added that “I’ve always understood that you (have to) get the other divisions involved…and at Hyundai the product planning and development divisions have really opened up and changed themselves structurally to be able to take in new ideas.” In regard to how the corporation measures the return on- nvestment of its innovation initiatives, Suh responded “we are measured by a combination of factors including the number of investments that we make and number of POCs (proof-of-concepts) that we’ve done.”

David Kirkpatrick, Techonomy’s Editor-in-Chief wrapped up the day, observing “people are using this occasion to do things they couldn’t have done before…[and] that’s super positive.”

CDX drew on its live audience during the roundtable to conduct a few polls. Here are the results:

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