Sherwin-Williams came to us in 2011, to determine new opportunities using our Rapid Brewery process. Since then, we’ve collaborated with them on several projects – from exploring digital tool applications to developing a single innovation vision and strategy across four highly siloed businesses. A huge event was held to communicate that innovation vision company-wide, where we ran a 500-person Opportunity Storming session (a world record!).
Sherwin-Williams had four business units with four distinct customer bases: Paint Stores, Products, Automotive, and Industrial. Each had a stand-alone R+D function, resource autonomy, and no mandate to work together. They were so unique in the demands of their platforms that there had been little effort to collaborate and explore synergies. But, the SVP of Innovation saw an opportunity to bring them all together, in a combined effort to share and potentially discover untapped value within the organization.
They were agreeable to working together – that’s not what made collaboration challenging. The difficulty was that little knowledge existed regarding trends across the different markets, the current innovation platforms, the customer accounts and their needs. Knowledge level-setting had to be thorough and occur quickly.
NewEdge conducted the foundational work to understand not only the subtleties of each portfolio and customer base, but also the industry dynamics and broader market conditions. We integrated the information into a digestible format, organized around the elements of Opportunity – Customer Needs, potential Value, and industry Conditions. This provided the necessary level-setting.
From there, we moved into an un-siloed exploration of opportunity – Where are the larger opportunities across all the needs, value propositions, and conditions? – and created an overarching landscape, illustrating opportunities across the entire coatings industry.
The next step was too look at each BU portfolio and map it onto the greater landscape. That’s when the magic occurred! Overlap amongst the portfolios came to light through utilization of the newly created organizing structure – without having to discuss the similarities and differences of every project.
This proved to be an incredibly fast, agile, collaborative and effective process for building a cohesive corporate portfolio. Duplication in projects across silos was reduced through the creation of bigger, more robust and differentiated platforms.