Q: We all know that driving innovation is essential to sustainable business success. But how do we keep driving innovation in times of great uncertainty—when more people are likely to feel fearful and perhaps cautious?
At Phillips 66, we believe innovation isn’t a project with a start and end date. It must be embedded into our culture and ways of working. This has been one of the key lessons learned during our ongoing business transformation called AdvantEdge66. Through this transformation, we’ve proven how leading with an innovative mindset can also deliver value. I believe this is what will lead to sustainability.
Q: What helps you keep an innovation mindset?
First, I would say our Phillips 66 employees. They are resilient and truly reimagine what’s possible every day. I’m proud to be a part of this team who inspire me. Second, we’ve had the opportunity to align ourselves with thought leaders on the forefront of digital technology – startups, universities, innovation hubs, etc. There are a lot of exciting things happening in our space and we see the potential in harnessing some of these emerging technologies.
Q: How do you encourage your team to balance innovation and a need to get the existing job done?
On one hand, we’re challenging our people to embrace new ways of working, thinking, and doing. This means taking calculated risks and remembering that in failure lies opportunity. On the other, as in any business, we have a duty to protect our base business (our core) and deliver value. Although we actively engage our businesses to innovate and deploy new technologies, we also respect the importance of operational excellence. We ensure digital solutions are fit-for-purpose, with the goal of being more agile, efficient, and smart in all that we do.
Q: In what ways did you learn to innovate during the Covid crisis that you may not have imagined before?
There are too many to name! Keep in mind, more than half of our employees work in field locations and facilities (refineries, terminals, plants, etc.) Like many, we pivoted to remote collaboration and remote deployments in order to stay on track with our project timelines. Our Agile projects that use cloud-based tools were well positioned to continue remotely. We saw the benefits of having a connected enterprise. Digital technology brought us closer together (although not physically) and enabled us to persevere through a tough year.
Q: Research has shown that diversity helps drives innovation. Can you provide an example of how you have seen that in action?
One of our core pillars at Phillips 66 is seeking different perspectives. This means sharing our unique experiences and expertise. We listen and make sure every voice is heard. We recently held an Innovation Engine Challenge in US Marketing, which was open to all employees. One of the winning pitches came from our Data Science team. There is excitement around thinking creatively and having the courage to participate in new and different opportunities.
Zhanna Golodryga is Senior Vice President and Chief Digital and Administrative Office for Phillips 66