Magazine

Claudia Kotchka: The Mash-Up Artist


A decade ago, P&G was a place of starched white shirts, wood-paneled walls, and museum silence. Information was held tight by managers. Scientists toiled alone and rarely shared ideas. P&G was a series of locked doors. The biggest lock was on the door to the outside world.

Today the company has gone from insular to open source, thanks in large part to its cultural alchemist, Claudia Kotchka. In 2000, new CEO A.G. Lafley took office and in 2001 created Kotchka's position of vice-president for design innovation and strategy. He told Kotchka to help him open up the cloistered halls of P&G and inject design thinking into every corpuscle of the company. Call it the MySpace-ification of P&G. To help change the culture, Kotcha, the mash-up artist, mixes things up. Bring down the walls to get inside people together and throw open the doors to bring in outsiders. Innovate by being connected and inspired by people around you. Be creative by being transparent, open and stimulated by outside, global ideas.

For the first time, fresh ideas flow into P&G from networks of outside scientists, engineers, and trend-spotters. Inside silos are gone -- well, going -- creating hybrid products born of collaboration like the new Allessi-looking version of the Swiffer. Kotchka has brought in an outside design board of world-class designers to weigh in on product launches. As for her own working area, it is a tiny, messy affair. She spends most of her time in the halls, listening, learning, talking.

To open up communication, Kotcha advocates spending more on common spaces for designers than on private workplaces. The message: P&G wants employees to hang out and connect. In innovative companies, the new R&D lab is the break room.

Claudia Kotchka

Vice President, Design Innovation & Strategy

Procter & Gamble

6:00 a.m. Wake up

6:00 - 6:15 a.m. Drink coffee

6:15 - 6:30 a.m. Meditate

6:30 - 7:30 a.m. Read, plan day, think, water plants

8:30 a.m. Arrive at work

8:30 - 9:30 p.m.Breakfast with new hires

9:30 - 10:00 a.m. Phone calls/answer messages

10:00 - 12:30 a.m. Meetings with Senior Management on state of Design and needs of the business

12:30 - 1:00 p.m. Lunch with Design leaders

1:00 - 2:00 p.m.Meet with design te a.m.

2:00 - 3:00 p.m. Meet with outside consultant on innovation ideas/processes

3:30 - 5:00 p.m.Meet with staff on organization capability building

5:00 - 6:00 p.m.Return phone calls from Design leaders

6:00 p.m. Leave work


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