From Materials to Digital Health: Interdisciplinary Innovation in Consumer Products
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.
Dr. John Creek – R&D Director, Health Disruptive Innovation, RB
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.