How to Build an Innovation Strategy

Rosalind Brewer

Lesson time 17:18 min

The only constant is change. Roz provides a look into her decision-making process when she transformed Walgreens from a retail store into a healthcare company. She highlights the ongoing impact for the company’s employees and community.

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Topics include: Innnovation Moment • Case Study: Transforming Walgreens Into a Healthcare Business • Know the Right Time to Pivot • Identify Your Innovation Moment • Innovation Challenges • Overcoming a Fear of Failure • Find the Right Problem Solvers • Bring Innovation to Life • Set Big Goals


ROSALIND BREWER: You know, I'll tell you, there's been many times in my career where innovation has really helped me unravel some of the most complex problems I've had to face, in terms of business imperatives. It's important when you begin to think about what's next at an organization, and you don't want to be able to just look around the corner to the next thing. It's the thing that's around the corner from around the corner. And what it does is it sets you apart from your competition, and that's really the surprising thing about innovation-- is because you get a chance to predict that change is inevitable. It is going to happen, and that's usually been one of the principles that I live by-- is, what are those innovation moments that I will have in this experience? The need for innovation often starts with solving a big problem. When I came to Walgreens, we faced a changing market for retail pharmacy, due to competition from online sales as well as a global pandemic. In this lesson, we're going to take a look at a big swing that I'm taking at Walgreens to drive growth, expand our customer base, and positively impact our community. So when I joined Walgreens, it was really interesting to me to join a company with such a great history, and a great history in dispensing pharmaceuticals. And everyone knew it as the corner drugstore. And one of the things that I thought about was just, what would the opportunity be for a brand like Walgreens that has more than 9,000 stores across the United States-- what could it mean if Walgreens could be not only your corner drugstore, but could it be your local health care? This is a dramatic swing and very challenging. It's a big shift from dispensing medications and selling retail products, to totally reimagining local health care and providing accessibility and affordability of care. It's interesting to me to look at health care as a whole and just analyze, what are the opportunities. And I thought about access to care. And I thought about health equity. And I thought about all the individuals affected by COVID that didn't have access or even knowledge around vaccines. And it gave me the idea what if we could be that localized health care unit that made people feel comfortable and confident, and could we take that to the next level. So the transformation that we're under at Walgreens is to transform ourselves from our local drugstore to providing health care services on a local basis. And so back in October of 2021, we acquired three new companies. One of those companies is a company called VillageMD. SPEAKER: Walgreens is doubling down on combining pharmacy and primary care services in store, announcing a $5.2 billion deal in primary care provider, VillageMD. ROSALIND BREWER: It's an interesting concept. So it's a group of primary care physicians that, actually, we are building co-located facilities. So imagine coming into a Walgreens, and there's a...

About the Instructor

After years of helming the ship at some of the country’s most iconic companies, including Walmart, Starbucks, and Walgreens, Rosalind Brewer has forged ahead in her quest to innovate while maintaining deep integrity. Now she’s sharing CEO-level strategies for team leaders of all types. Learn to promote innovation, gain buy-in on projects you believe in, and stand out as the leader you know yourself to be.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Rosalind Brewer

Fortune 500 CEO Rosalind Brewer has transformed companies like Walmart, Starbucks, and Walgreens— now she’ll teach you how to make an impact at any level.

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