PepsiCo Global Chief Commercial Officer Ram Krishnan led a discussion at Fast Company's recent Innovation Festival on the importance of nimble, connected teams — and what it takes to build and maintain that culture in a remote-work world.

 

"One of the biggest lessons I personally have learned this year is that incremental steps are no longer sufficient," said PepsiCo Global Chief Commercial Officer Ram Krishnan. "To put it another way, don't think iteration, think transformation."

Recently, Krishnan moderated a panel called “How to Foster Innovation in a Remote World” at Fast Company's first virtual Innovation Festival, featuring executives from Kroger, Mastercard and the LA Kings/AEG Sports. The conversation focused on ways for companies to embrace creativity and innovation during a period when many people are working remotely.

PepsiCo Global Chief Commercial Officer Ram Krishnan with panelists
PepsiCo Global Chief Commercial Officer Ram Krishnan (left) with the panelists.

One of the key topics discussed: how companies are embracing technology to build meaningful connections between employees. Leaders are finding new ways to recreate office moments virtually, from fun social gatherings and spur-of-the-moment “water cooler” chats to interactions that bring different team members together. These team- and culture-building ideas will pay dividends in the future work world, too. "I think we would all agree that remote work works," said Krishnan.

Don't think iteration, think transformation.

At the start of this year, Krishnan was leading PepsiCo’s Asia-Pacific business, so his team was one of the first at the company to adapt to new ways of working. Realizing that simply tweaking their plans wouldn’t be sufficient, the team sprung into action: In weeks, they made transformative moves that would have taken months in the past.

Since then, in his role as Global Chief Commercial Officer, Krishnan and the PepsiCo team have been working on building new global capabilities focused on delivering the company’s products to market with greater speed, agility and precision than ever before, all while working remotely.

"Our objective is to preserve and enable that speed and agility in a post-COVID world," said Krishnan.

To hear more from the Fast Company Innovation Festival panel, watch the full discussion here.

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