How Innovation Drives Social Impact

For any organization striving to make a positive impact in communities, successful execution relies on several elements: working with experienced partners in the field, rallying people to support the cause, and a willingness to try new and creative strategies that help scale change.

Innovation is a key driver for success and a critical component of our multi-disciplinary approach to tackle the global challenges of hunger, food insecurity, and malnutrition through our Nutrition for Zero Hunger (NFZH) initiative. These challenges are systemic, complex problems with many interdependencies, and much hope is being placed on innovation to accelerate the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals that aim for significant social impact.

Everyone has the ability to not only contribute to social impact and make a difference but also to bring new ideas to the table, often with ideas and opportunities that are unique to them. Our employees are a significant part of that driving force, not only to keep us moving forward with new and different ideas, but also on how we can continue to do more good around the world. For this reason, our Corporate Social Responsibility and Global Innovation teams partnered to explore forward-thinking strategies to accelerate growth for NFZH, all made possible by the innovations from our global employees.

As we move into our second year of NFZH, I had a conversation with Dawn Campbell, Senior Vice President of Global Innovation, where we dove deeper into the ways in which innovation drives social impact at Herbalife Nutrition, and beyond.

A Culture of Sustainable Innovation at Herbalife Nutrition

Erin Richards-Kunkel (ERK): Tell me about your role as SVP of Global Innovation, and your personal passion to give back to those in need.

Dawn Campbell (DC): This is a very exciting time in our company and my commitment is to continue our innovation culture movement by supporting the leadership and their teams. This Innovation role gives me the opportunity to give our employees the training and knowledge to be empowered and feel valued as their ideas are considered and even recognized for the amazing results they produce along the way.

I’m passionate about giving back to our communities. I have a special place in my heart for our Casa Herbalife Nutrition program, run by the Herbalife Nutrition Foundation. In particular for one of the Casa partners in Los Angeles, a non-profit organization called A Place Called Home, located in South Central Los Angeles. I’ve been an active volunteer for underserved youth for over 20 years and have served on their executive Board of Directors since 2014. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing these kids evolve over time and return to give back to this organization as they thrive in their own lives and careers.

ERK: What are our major company goals when it comes to innovation?

DC: To identify and eliminate barriers, to change and foster a culture that can create an environment of sustained innovation that is the everyday fabric of our company, where we accelerate future business growth and elevate employee and distributor value.

Our key initiatives for our Innovation program are Communication, Recognition, Training, Development, and Implementation. Through these four pillars, we focus on the following:

  1. Share information about forward-thinking ideas and strategies implemented throughout the company.
  2. Build up our employees into a foundation of innovation through a training program that teaches key skills and behaviors for innovation success.
  3. Recognize great ideas and reward success by going big with our recognition program.
  4. Support regions and departments in identifying quick wins and other valuable ideas. Focus time, money, and other resources to get projects going.
  5. Emphasize teamwork and collaboration as a big part of our Greenhouse Challenges, Shark Tanks, and Innovative efforts across the globe.
NFZH Greenhouse Challenge
During our very first Nutrition for Zero Hunger Greenhouse Challenge, employees from around the world pitched their ideas to a panel of executives who will decide which projects to invest in.

ERK: What have been some of the major successes so far with our Innovation commitments, programs, and culture building?

DC: Since the beginning of our program, 2 percent of our ideas have been implemented and just that handful of ideas have generated more than $3.1 million in savings, revenue growth, and much more. We have more than 4,000 ideas in The Greenhouse.

Employees Practice Innovation with Passion and Purpose

ERK: Our employees are so passionate not only about our company but the ability for us to do good things in the world. How have you seen this expressed through the Greenhouse and other ways we are innovating?

DC: The greenhouse community participation has been amazing. The employees continue to be supportive in not only sharing their amazing ideas, but also engaging in supporting their colleagues by voting and promoting ideas.

At Herbalife Nutrition, we want to make sure that all of our employees and new hires are aware that our company is constantly striving to be the #1 leader in innovation. Our Greenhouse crowdsourcing platform has over 85 percent of employee global participation. We’ve run more than 60 Greenhouse Challenges across all regions and over 20 departments have run their own objective specific Challenges.

A great example is the high amount of ideas submitted to support sustainability efforts, and from that, the Green Council was formed, which has become a key initiative for the company. That is one of many examples we are seeing coming out of ideas submitted into the Greenhouse around the world.

ERK: Tell me a bit about the Innovation Council and how employees are involved globally?

DC: Our Innovation Council members have a passion for innovation, and a desire to be agents of change. The council is a group of individuals thoughtfully selected to help create and sustain a culture of innovation that is aligned with regional and local organization needs. We have council members in all our regions, and they represent different background areas in our company. Their purpose is to identify innovation best practices, advise on the value of implemented areas, and promote innovation throughout the regions.

ERK: In what other ways do we help unlock employee-led innovation?

DC: We always have to assume that there is always a better way to do things, we can always build it better! Some helpful tips that we’ve identified to continue to push Innovation are the following:

A Socially Driven “Shark Tank” – Herbalife Nutrition’s Innovation Accelerator

ERK: The Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Innovation teams partnered for a great challenge – focused on NFZH and new ideas on how our company can reduce hunger around the world. Tell me a little about that process and the response from employees?

DC: As a global challenge open to all employees, the response was incredible. We received over 70 unique ideas from employees all over the world, pitching great initiatives for potential implementation.

ERK: Why is this collaboration between Innovation and CSR a great fit?

DC: We can pilot ideas around the world and use the knowledge and expertise from our global employees to localize approaches for greater impact. We can identify ongoing projects that can be adapted and modified to deliver greater support for communities in need. Our employees are champions for doing good, the Greenhouse allows them to put all of that passion into tangible projects. Everyone is responsible for the good Herbalife Nutrition does around the world and everyone feels ownership of the impact we have. Each and every employee owns CSR, and this further emphasizes that.

ERK: Beyond our original Greenhouse Challenge, we are doing a Shark Tank event. Can you explain what that is and tell me about some previous Shark Tank Innovation events and their successes?

DC: Since the beginning of our Innovation program, we’ve proposed to our Innovation Council and Greenhouse Challenge requestors if they would be open to host a Shark Tank event after wrapping up their Greenhouse Challenge. These Shark Tank style events give the employee who submitted an idea a voice to pitch their project to Executives which has the potential to bring value to the company or improve business in any way.

Our Mexico, South America, and Central America regions have hosted their first Shark Tank events where groups presented their idea to the Region Heads and Regional leadership team. The top ideas selected have been given the ok to move forward for implementation and one idea has even been approved for funding for $30,000. These Shark Tank events not only encourage teams to work together, but they also support employees to learn how to develop and make their projects more effective when they present their ideas in the future.

ERK: What is special about the NFZH Shark Tank?

DC: We broadcasted to employees globally, so everyone saw the fantastic ideas from the Greenhouse challenge and engaged with them. Our executives witnessed first-hand the potential for their investment in future social impact projects. The teams pitched their ideas to a panel of executives and nonprofit partners. We are excited to see employees take the lead in driving NFZH forward for even more greater impact.

Learn more about how Nutrition for Zero Hunger is helping eliminate global hunger.

Erin Richards-Kunkel

Erin Richards-KunkelDirector, Strategic Partnerships and Corporate Social Responsibility

Erin leads the development and execution of global partnerships and corporate social responsibility initiatives for Herbalife Nutrition. Her background combines analytical and creative expertise with degrees in both biological sciences and journalism from the University of California, Davis and the University of Southern California respectively. Her love of storytelling, science, and social good comes together in her approach for engagement and holistic campaign strategy and development.