How We’re Building a Culture of Innovation

I have the rare privilege of being the first person to hold a position that didn’t exist before within the company. I’ve been with Herbalife Nutrition for 10 years, but it wasn’t until 2017 that I became Chief Innovation Officer (CIO).

My purpose is to identify and eliminate the barriers to change and foster a culture that can create an environment of sustained innovation within the company. No easy feat, certainly, but one of the reasons Herbalife Nutrition became so successful is because we learned how to efficiently replicate great products and processes over time.

When a company has achieved a certain status, innovation can be scary because it means trying new, untested approaches. However, I am convinced that these endeavors are worth it.

Why We Launched the Greenhouse Initiative

A key aspect of any innovative culture is collaboration. In our case, that means giving every Herbalife Nutrition employee the opportunity to contribute their thoughts. Their ideas and experiences are an invaluable, and oftentimes untapped, resource. We wanted to give them a tool through which their ideas could be heard and appropriately valued and implemented.

So, in late 2017, we launched the Greenhouse, an online idea submission system accessible to all Herbalife Nutrition employees. This tool allows our thousands of employees around the world to share, view, collaborate, and discuss ideas around key corporate issues.

Participants can view, share, collaborate and vote for ideas that they think should be moved forward for testing and potential implementation. Through crowdsource technology we identify the best ideas based upon collective input.

So far, engagement has been amazing:

3 Principles Shape Innovation

How We Shape Innovation at the Company

Working on innovation is exciting because there is always something new to be learned. So far, these principles have allowed me to navigate my role with curiosity, confidence and willingness to be open to new ideas:

  1. Assume that there’s always a better way, no matter how good of a service, process, tool or product you have, you can always build it better.
  2. Do not rely exclusively on experts: they are really good in how we do things today, but the best way to stimulate that outside the box thinking is mixing them with people from other backgrounds that will suggest crazy ideas which can stimulate amazing outcomes.
  3. Encourage experimentation and embrace failure, because it can’t be something you’re afraid of. When it’s done well, which means you fail fast, you learn from it and you try something different based on those learnings.

Innovation Means Going Beyond Inspiration and Ideas

People tend to think of innovation as that “aha!” moment, the brilliant idea that comes to you in the shower. But I look at it differently: I think innovation takes hours of really understanding the problem you want to solve.

Albert Einstein has one of my favorite quotes. He was once asked: “Gun to your head, you have an hour to solve a problem. What do you do?” He says: “I spend 55 minutes really understanding the problem and five minutes coming up with the answer.”

That’s the approach I like to take. I believe that’s what innovation is. It’s hard work, iteration, learning from the failure, and applying that knowledge to the next attempt. The natural human instinct is to make things better and to create, and I am honored to be in a position where I can foster that natural drive.

Chris Morris, Chief Innovation Officer and Sr. Vice President, Distributor Experience

Chris MorrisChief Innovation Officer and Sr. Vice President, Distributor Experience

Chris Morris is responsible for initiatives that support innovations across the company, which ultimately enhance distributor and customer services. Before joining the company, he spent five years at LSI, first as the director of the company’s IT program management office and later as director of global IT infrastructure and operations.