Congratulations on failure
Vivek Ramaswamy introduced Vas Narasimhan, CEO of Novartis and keynote speaker of the evening, as a true innovator. Narasimhan reflected on the tremendous legacy of Novartis – and how to make his own mark: “Could I create the next culture of innovation?”
He showed that he is determined to do so by encouraging:
- Creative abrasion. Disagreement is possible – it is important though to separate task conflicts and personal conflicts.
- Creative agility, which means that it is important for everyone to be able to switch from one idea to another, despite the risk of financial losses.
- Creative resolution, meaning that people within the organization are able and willing to take decisions.
Further, Narasimhan talked about unbossing the organization. He intends to transform a culture of fear into a culture of learning and curiosity. “People don’t like to talk about failure. So to change that, we lately congratulated a team whose drug failed.” Shaping the culture for the Novartis CEO also means not assimilating new acquisitions. “We are a supertanker, trying to protect speedboats and operating with them next to us,” Narasimhan explained. “It’s a big shift and a cultural journey that will approximately take five to ten years.”