Innovation pods and cultural immersion, with Kimberly-Clark’s Eilat Cohen Basat

Every week, Automated Creative founder Tom Ollerton interviews advertising industry leaders about their experiences, views on technology and innovation and the future of marketing in the Shiny New Object podcast. This week, he spoke to Eilat Cohen Basat, the MD of Global Digital Innovation at Kimberly-Clark Corporation. 

Here’s what he learned from the conversation.

Knowing other people’s culture is invaluable for building relationships

Eilat has spent her career in technology, creating new businesses and start-ups and pushing innovation. She’s been successful in her journey to always create something new, in large part due to being a “constant learner” Since her move into the world of consumer goods, she says, “I still feel sometimes like I’m breaking things… This is what we should do as innovators.” There is never an end point to learning - Eilat feels that the most useful thing she’s ever bought with her own money was… a French course. Learning about other cultures helps develop her relationships, and feeds her curiosity and creative mind.

A great team can help you swim against the current

While working in large organisations trying to change mindsets and foster innovation, Eilat has often felt like she’s swimming against the current. However, in order to build a stronger team around her, she latches on to the one behaviour that’s changed her work life: mentoring and coaching.

Eilat says, “When you identify people that have the spark and want to learn more, and you coach them, you create an amazing internal environment for growth.” This leads us to her Shiny New Object – innovating and changing big enterprises. It might seem like a daunting task, but Eilat explained to me that the key is to create innovation pods within the organisation, where the team can act like “newcomers” and question everything in order to find ways to break the mould.

Celebrate failure to get ahead

In a big organisation, innovation cannot be achieved without questioning mentalities and behaviours. This includes being bold enough to celebrate failure. Eilat’s advice for anyone looking to bring innovation into a big company is to look at changing the culture with top-down buy-in. This includes bringing innovation into the company’s KPIs, from recognising behaviour change, to celebrating success and failure alike.


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