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How can you build capabilities to meet growth targets year after year?

Global population has risen past 7 billion. But arable farmland and water resources have hit up against hard limits. The world needs to find new ways to produce more food from less. To help meet this challenge, Syngenta harnessed Innosight's innovation capabilities framework.

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As one of Earth's largest agri-businesses, Syngenta struggles to achieve many different kinds of growth on a daily basis.

The innovation challenge

Formed in 2000 as a result of a large merger, the 25,000-employee firm found itself unable to bring to market enough new products to achieve consistent, organic growth. The firm was spending $1 billion annually on R&D to generate new ideas, but sub-par prioritization and implementation meant those ideas simply weren't finding their way into new seeds and crop protection products.

Syngenta lab

Bottleneck: Global agri-business Syngenta was spending 1 billion per year in R&D but was having trouble getting ideas out of the lab that could be implemented as new products in the marketplace.

Syngenta scientists

New capabilities: Under pressure to find new ways to grow, Syngenta in 2006 brought in Innosight to lead an ongoing innovation capabilities plan.

Syngenta logo

A ten year plan: At the same time, Syngenta's leadership team set ambitious annual revenue targets through the year 2016.

Syngenta test plants

Key questions that Innosight helped Syngenta address: How do I spot and seize opportunities to create a new growth business? What can I do to make growth through innovation more repeatable?

Syngeta Bill Knowles

Global rollout: Shown leading an innovation workshop in Istanbul, Syngenta's Bill Knowles, says that "Innosight's methodology has been my focus for six years, and it has been brought to more people than anything else."

Syngenta worker with laptop

Innosight's teachings led to a strategic reorganization. All product development has been consolidated in one place while new geographic business units explore solutions to specific climate and crop problems.

Syngenta scientist

Sowing new seeds: The result has been an explosion of new products including successful new hybrids seeds and new ways to protect soy, barley, wheat, sugarcane, corn, apples, and flowers from drought and disease.

Syngetna farmer

Results that matter: Over the past five years, Syngenta hit its growth targets again and again, increasing revenue by 45 percent, to nearly $11.6 billion, and doubling net income.

Syngetna farmer

During this time, it has been tracking and reporting "new products" as a measurable category—one that now accounts for about $700 million in new global revenue—one that is growing at twice the rate as the overall company.

Syngetna most innovative companies

Syngenta's leadership: Forbes and Fast Company have both placed Syngenta on its lists of "the world’s most innovative companies."

In 2006, Syngenta's executive team brought in Innosight to help put in place an innovation capabilities framework and growth plan. A series of interactive sessions brought Innosight's methodology to key scientists and business unit leaders. The focus was on creating "repeatable" growth through innovation.

At the same time, the company put forth an ambitious ten-year growth goal, setting annual revenue targets through the year 2016.

Innosight's tools and teachings spread beyond the core group to the point where Syngenta held regular innovation workshops in all of its geographic regions, from its U.S. base in North Carolina to its global headquarters in Switzerland to its divisions in Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

Organizing to innovate

The Innosight teachings helped the company reorganize—by consolidating all of its product groups together while launching geographical units focused on finding solutions to specific customer, climate and crop problems in each region.

The result has been an explosion of new products that not only boosted land productivity but also the personal productivity of farmers. Syngenta benefited not from just one or two new products but from a repeatable way to bring to market successful new hybrids seeds and new ways to protect soy, barley, wheat, sugarcane, corn, apples, and flowers from drought and disease.

Meeting growth goals

"Our engagement with Innosight helped us improve our ability to meet our strategic objective of launching innovative growth businesses," says Bill Knowles, Syngenta's Learning and Organization Development Manager. "The tools and processes that Innosight brought to us remains the foundation of our innovation efforts today."

"When you're in agriculture," adds Knowles, "you're in the growth business." And Syngenta has found a way to deliver consistent growth both to farmers and investors all over the world.

Over the past five years, Syngenta has hit its growth targets again and again, increasing revenue by 45 percent, to nearly $11.6 billion, and doubling net income. During this time, it has been tracking and reporting "new products" as a measurable category—one that now accounts for about $700 million in new global revenue. The segment is growing at twice the rate as the overall company. As a result, Syngenta has been named one of the "world's most innovative companies" on annual lists by Fast Company and Forbes.

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Executive Director, Settlement Music School

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