Brown Brothers Harriman: Making Innovation a Strategic Priority

On Wednesday, January 30th, we glimpsed the inner workings of Brown Brothers Harriman (BBH) from none other than the company’s SVP of Innovation, Phil Swisher.

According to Swisher, the three elements necessary for successful innovation are good ideas, time to work on them, and the capital to fund them.

Swisher heads an innovation team that works on its own innovation projects, in addition to acting as internal consultants for other business units. The innovation team is a “firmwide hub for innovative ideas, people, and projects.” They provide the time, funding, and feedback and idea refinement for any employee with an idea. BBH fosters a strong innovative culture, from skill building and mentoring to strategy.

The program is equipped with formalized criteria, process, and metrics. In terms of process, ideas develop into solutions, and then into products. BBH looks for disruptive ideas that don’t necessarily fit nicely into their business. This ensures that the ideas are truly innovative.

For slides and a copy of the presentation, click here.

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