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Utah Business: Collaboration plus innovation is key

Jan 21, 2022 | Admin, Latest News

When Utah Business invites five of Utah’s thought leaders in technology, fintech, life sciences, and healthcare to come together for their Executive Summit—take notes! 

Moderated by Nathan Paddock, director of Business Development at Wells Fargo, UB expert panelists Katelin Roberts, executive director at BioHive; Brandon Newman, CEO & co-founder at Xevant; Ryan Jones, EVP & chief lending officer at Altabank; Amy Osmond Cook, CMO at Simplus; and Scott Johnson, Founder & CEO at Motivosity, discussed how their companies work to create collaborative solutions to some of business’ biggest challenges. 

Collaboration isn’t a new concept. But when partnered with technologies that empower teams to explore innovative ideas, strategies, and partnerships, companies are redefining their brands with little more than well-defined business objectives and work culture. 


Collaboration encourages engagement

Employee engagement has been an enduring challenge for organizations. Previous to the pandemic, employee polls reported that around 63.3 percent of organizations struggled to retain employees after hiring them.

This comes as no surprise to Scott Johnson, founder and CEO at Motivosity and Utah Business Summit expert panelist. “Employee engagement has been stuck at 30 percent for 15 years,” he points out. “The problem is the CEO and leaders oftentimes aren’t students of motivation theory, and they’re not students of positive psychology. They tend to solve problems top-down and that doesn’t work.” 

While less than half (around 35 percent) of employees are actively engaged at work, forming collaborative teams with people who desire more involvement can potentially double employee engagement. 

“As we go through workforce challenges, the things that I found the most meaningful to my team are to help keep it real and to help make sure everybody knows you care about them and that you know they have a life and personal responsibilities but that you want to build something together,” Amy Cook, CMO at Simplus adds. “Not in a hierarchical way but in a team-based way.” 


Collaborate with an eye on innovation

Although the work environment has changed, the pace remains faster than ever. When teams can tap into a diverse collection of talent, expertise, creativity, and leadership within the group, team members grow by learning from each other. The result? Most recently, innovation bolstered by collaboration helped Infosys, Salesforce, and Simplus introduce an end-to-end vaccine management solution to the US. 

“We’ve been working with companies to help them get everyone vaccinated. Thousands of vaccines have been delivered through the solution and many of them to homebound residents that are in senior care or would not otherwise have that ability. So that was one of the things we’re most proud of during COVID,” says Cook.  

This collaborative formula means companies of all sizes can disrupt an industry with innovative solutions, thus opening up new opportunities to work with companies within the industry. 


Collaboration across industries maintains forward momentum and builds a competitive edge

Partnership marketing and B2B arrangements are on the rise as companies compare strengths and work together to highlight a need for solutions that elevate their respective services. “You start hearing stories that some of our largest competitors are using the same solution now that we are, and so that was just a way to narrow that gap instead of thinking that we had to solve all these problems internally, which could never keep up,” Ryan Jones,  EVP & chief lending officer at Altabank, said. “When you look at these companies that have spent the money on the R&D, we can keep up by providing very, very similar platforms by partnering with the trade partners.” 

As an influencer in the life sciences and healthcare ecosystems, BioHive encompasses this collective and collaborative business model. “You have to have all these stakeholders at the table, working together in alignment and in collaboration with businesses to get things done,” says Katelin Roberts, executive director at BioHive. “We not only have a really incredible, resilient community within Utah, but the collaboration where we come together across industries, across those silos, to make sure that we can work together.”

For the collaborative, innovative strategy to succeed, micromanaging needs to hit the road while trust among teams and their managers should come knocking. “Empower and trust your team to run the company, don’t do it top-down,” advises Brandon Newman, CEO & co-founder at Xevant. And don’t shy away from taking risks on new ideas. 

“There’s no comfort in the growth zone, and there’s no growth in the comfort zone,” says Jones. Look for ways to get uncomfortable, and that means you’re probably doing something right.”




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