I firmly believe that collaborating and connecting with leading-edge academic leaders at great institutions will accelerate this movement.
Throughout my career I have enjoyed — and benefited from — multiple collaborations with the academic side of business. Many practitioners in business and marketing limit their collaboration with colleges and universities to recruiting, which, at its best, is a wonderful process, but is transactional in nature. Some of my best experiences have been in these areas:
- Inviting academics and students into our business at P&G to help solve problems and address challenges
- Collaborating on research and writing in a field of common interest
- Hosting on-site seminars among brand leaders and academics to discuss an emerging trend or capability
- Participating in industry groups and associations together
- Working together in a classroom environment
My plan for the future is to become part of the academic community — not as a full professor, but, for starters, as a collaborator. This will be fertile ground for ideas, for dialogue, for inspiration and for research. I know I will gain enormously from this — in fact, I already am as I travel and meet leading academics to talk about these concepts. I also hope to give back, through teaching, collaborating on research and being part of a community to advance learning.
I am currently speaking with a number of deans and professors from institutions across North America, including Stanford, UCLA, Toronto, Penn State, Harvard and the University of Cincinnati, to explore possible academic avenues. And a few others, I might add! It is an experience, I believe, that holds great possibilities.
Watch this space for more news as this progresses ...