‘As leaders, we have to establish the purpose and the levers that facilitate transformation. We have to serve and inspire with disruptive thinking, transparency and coherence. At Merck, that’s how we understand things.’ With these words, Marieta Jiménez, President and General Manager of Merck Spain, summarised the main conclusion of her presentation at the most recent session of Desayunos ESADE, organised by ESADE Alumni in collaboration with CriteriaCaixa. In her speech, entitled ‘Innovation as a Strategic Pillar of Business: Dancing with Uncertainty’, Ms. Jiménez described how the company she leads ‘has assumed its responsibility to society and taken a step forward to offer solutions for issues that affect us all’.
Ms. Jiménez explained that the main aspects of transformation at Merck – a biotech company with a history dating back more than 350 years – are levers, purpose and inspiration. She then mentioned a few of the company’s key levers: ‘Culture, because companies only prosper when they have the best talent, capabilities and values; knowledge of the impact of technology and the value it provides in the business context; and innovation, which we understand as a way of thinking, feeling and acting that generates relevance, is inclusive and is connected to Merck’s purpose.’
Expanding on the theme of Merck’s purpose, she observed: ‘It’s neither a mission nor a vision, it’s a guide of what we do, why we do it and what we contribute.’ She added: ‘Merck’s purpose is to be a leader in science and technology and to shape the future through its knowledge, its activity and its people in three areas: science and talent, innovation and development, and women and the economy.’ She then turned her attention to the subject of inspiration. In order for innovation to be effective, she argued, leadership must be ‘disruptive, transparent and coherent’ and ‘everyone must feel a sense of responsibility for the company’s progress’.
The keys to transformation
‘Nowadays, we are witnessing a new scenario in which technology is changing absolutely everything and we have to understand that the challenge is not to think about products or processes but to understand how technologies will impact society,’ commented Ms. Jiménez. ‘Until now, innovation departments have usually worked in isolation. But if we want to keep covering consumers’ needs, innovation has to be present throughout the organisation – down to the very last employee – and flow through the company’s veins.’
At this session of Desayunos ESADE, organised by ESADE Alumni, Ms. Jiménez was joined by Juan María Hernández Puértolas, Director of Communication at CriteriaCaixa, and Pedro Navarro, member of the ESADE Foundation Board of Trustees.
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