In part, this is because it can be difficult to lead and innovate when the traditional ways of working are so ingrained in day-to-day work. In Laura’s experience, that’s why it was so important we built a team with in-depth industry knowledge, but that was also open to new ideas. One way this was achieved was by finding team members with a balance of PE expertise and business expertise like polyethylene product manager, Natalie Holmes, and global marketing manager, Chris Conrad.
A Culture of Innovation
As a greenfield project, Laura and the Shell Polymers team have the opportunity to start from scratch using the latest technology. For every piece of technology the plant will employ, Laura pushes the team to ask forward-thinking questions like, “will this tool provide the necessary analytics to help us and customers make informed decisions? If not, can it?”
However, technology is always changing and Laura doesn’t want current capabilities to limit their work. She encourages the team to accept technology as it stands, but also to innovate and adapt with it as it evolves.
For example, Laura is paving the way to introduce new business management tools and functionalities to automate our commercial operations. This will include opening doors for the brand team to connect with customers using new-to-industry approaches.
This culture will be critical to the team continuously improving internal and external procedures – ultimately allowing them to offer customers a differentiated supplier experience as the business evolves.