Jacob Johnson, Principal & Strategist
May 22, 2020

Here's why most of your new projects die on the vine

An interview with Eivind Slaaen, the Head of People and Culture at a global company, about innovation — and why chasing new initiatives isn’t always the best way to achieve it.

During a trip to Washington, D.C., in fall 2019, I met up with a mentor of mine, one of the most brilliant organizational behaviorists and strategists I know. We sat down to talk about innovation within an organization, and what people — especially leaders — need to understand and watch out for.

Eivind Slaaen is the Head of People and Culture at Hilti AG, a 30,000 person company that develops, manufactures, and markets products for the construction industry in 130 countries. Eivind is tasked with fostering a global culture of which innovation is a key pillar. As you’ll hear, he has a sobering and realistic — yet fascinating — understanding of it. 

In a world that is drunk on innovation and gives $40 billion valuations to start-up CEOs who claim their coworking concept is “disruptive” (e.g. WeWork), it’s nice to hear from someone with the perspective of a time-tested, German product-launching machine. 

Eivind understands that innovation comes in many forms, only a few of which fit the mold of “game-changing.”He has some fundamental but important ideas to share when it comes to chasing the new.

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