Innovation is not a place or a function or something that is exclusively assigned to engineers or product managers. At least not at Zebra.
Innovation is in our DNA – it’s built into the fabric of our culture. It’s how we innately operate every day, across every function from finance and human resources (HR) to marketing and supply chain. It’s one of the reasons why Zebra has continued to grow and thrive for the past 50+ years.
But we don’t innovate to better ourselves as individuals or as a company. We innovate to better position ourselves to serve our customers: the manufacturers, retailers, warehouse operators, transportation companies, utilities, government agencies and healthcare providers who are so critical to our everyday lives. And we don’t stop innovating, even when we think we’ve reached the pinnacle of modern technology, because we believe that there is always something more that we can do to help front-line workers do their jobs better, faster and more effectually.
More importantly, we know that our customers would not have the technology tools they need to serve their customers, especially not in the challenging times we’re facing right now, if we were to accept each success as the finish line.
So, we innovate…continuously.
But we don’t think it’s that steadfast commitment that necessarily landed Zebra on Fast Company’s 2020 Best Workplaces for Innovators list. Rather, we are confident that it’s our customer-first approach to innovation.
As Zebra’s Chief Technology Officer, Tom Bianculli, explains in our latest Your Edge podcast episode, Zebra doesn’t do anything without first asking, “why is this idea, solution or service important to our customers?” How could it impact their ability to meet their customers’ demands or help their workers reach their full potential? How could it make them more agile, efficient and successful despite the many operational challenges they will likely encounter, especially those not within their direct control?
Then again, it could be Zebra’s open-door innovation policy…or collaborative culture…or collective passion to help others be the best they can be. It could also be the remarkable agility, creativity and resilience of Zebra Nation. COVID-19 didn’t slow us down. It motivated us to step up and do more, to innovate more, in a highly transformative way. We moved at lightning fast speed to bring to market solutions that weren’t even on our roadmap when the outbreak started – solutions that would help keep our front-line workers safe so that they could continue to support our healthcare, retail, grocery and delivery service customers who were working in the thick of this crisis to protect our individual and community well-being.
If you ask Tom though, a Zebra Distinguished Innovator himself, there are dozens of things that make Zebra’s culture of innovation so unique and attractive to both customers and Zebra’s talented employees alike. Listen as he talks about each of them in our latest podcast episode: