2019 McFarland Award
"From Materials to Digital Health: Interdisciplinary Innovations in Consumer Products"
John Creek, Ph.D.
R&D DIRECTOR, GLOBAL HEALTH DISRUPTIVE INNOVATION
The global fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry serves some of the most competitive markets in the world. Changing consumer demographics, new brands, and external market forces all impact in-market success. In particular, the high rate of change and development of new technologies (including digital) in the consumer health segment are leading to an increasingly complex market landscape. Transformational innovation in this space requires a cross-functional mindset and an interdisciplinary scientific and consumer-centric approach to product development. This retrospective will discuss successes and failures in applying new technologies and consumer insights to product and category creation as well as the necessity to stay rooted and committed to driving the science behind the product forward.
John earned a Ph.D. in Materials Science & Engineering at the Pennsylvania State University in 2007 following a B.S. in Chemical Engineering (cum laude) at Washington & Lee University. He joined the RB (formerly Reckitt Benckiser) R&D team based in Montvale, NJ in the same year. After completing a series of product development roles in the Germ Protection R&D and Technology Innovation teams John was appointed Manager on the global Outside Innovation (2012) and Disruptive Innovation (2015) teams. Since 2018, John has led the RB Health Disruptive Innovation team within the Emerging Sciences & Technology R&D category. In this role, he is responsible for strategic innovation project inception, execution, and delivery – supporting existing RB Health brands as well as new strategic white space initiatives. The highly cross-functional Disruptive Innovation team is RBs internal start-up powerhouse, collaborating with R&D, marketing, and commercial teams to drive forward RBs ambition to provide innovative health care solutions for consumers; both nurturing the best start in life and adding healthy years to life. This is accomplished using partnerships, external and internal, to bring the best science-led product and digital innovations to our consumers.
At RB John has been instrumental in the launch of multiple consumer products in the Health and Hygiene segments and is currently focused on the implementation of a science-driven ecosystem-based approach to innovation within the Health segment, bringing together multiple disciplines, from chemistry to materials to digital, to deliver boldly innovative solutions that create new value in consumer health categories.