Learnings and slides from Pfizer’s work to foster a culture of innovation

By Kelsey Alpaio, Staff Writer

Almost a decade ago, Pfizer, the $48 billion pharmaceutical company based in New York, set out to create an innovation framework. But at the time, each part of the business was embarking on its own separate innovation journey.

That was better than not pursuing innovation at all, says Dan Seewald, Senior Director of Worldwide Innovation at Pfizer and Head of the Dare to Try Initiative. But it presented a challenge for the 100,000-person, global organization. “If you don’t have a common vernacular, if you don’t have a common culture, if you don’t have the same frame of reference…then you lose the scalability and the impact of having one program, one mindset, and one social movement,” says Seewald.

To tackle that challenge, Seewald and his team set out to create a unified innovation and experimentation framework. This framework, known as “Dare to Try,” is comprised of a variety of tools, behavioral expectations, a champion network, and training sessions, all dedicated to helping individuals and teams around the company create innovative solutions, and more importantly, instill an innovative mindset and culture within the organization as a whole.

We sat down with Seewald to learn more about the development of this framework; the development of the network of champions; how the organization measures the success of the Dare to Try initiative; and the importance of creating an “brand” that innovators connect to.

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