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Implementing a Culture of Innovation (INTERVIEW)

Bill Lazaroff, SVP, Lifetime Brands
Katie Pagnotta
November 12th, 2013
Bill Lazaroff, SVP Industrial Design & Product Development at Lifetime Brands, is a resilient and passionate visionary. Bill has 16 years experience with the groundbreaking company and continues to promote understanding and manifesting innovation. Lifetime Brands is North America’s leading resource for nationally branded kitchenware, tabletop, home décor and lifestyle products. Lifetime Brands is committed to providing consumers with innovative products that meet lifestyle needs.

3 Questions with Bill


How does your team generate new ideas?


First and foremost, industrial designers are problem solvers. There is an incessant need to identify problems and discern good solutions. You need to know what products are out there. You need to be aware of practical space and this means competitors. As well, you need to be aware of intellectual property and which ideas have already been taken. It is vital to excel in all of these areas and be equally serious about them. Your team needs to assess idea generation, the spaces defined and how to move forward. At Lifetime Brands, we focus on brainstorming, TRIZ methodology and promoting an innovative culture that allows ideas to come from any member in any department. Big concept ideas come from a lot of places and everyone at Lifetime Brands is challenged to come up with ideas and not just products.

What makes an innovative culture? How do you create a culture of innovation?

Culture is corporate. The sexiest form of innovation is in our products, however, it is important that people in every department feel that they are just as important and understand it. Our culture of innovation stems from getting rid of the fear factor. It is essential and gives people a greater sense of worth and makes them proud to work for us and get recognition. We also implement an award system and deem the ideas with gold, silver and bronze awards. A fun fact is that 95% of awards are for innovation in other areas, not solely products.

Looking to the future, how is Lifetime Brands going to be a leader in innovation?

You must continually innovate. The demands are faster and you have to raise the bar. In the past, shelf life was a lot longer and I think the competition is fiercer than ever. This forces our team to stay nimble and work faster. Challenges are greater than ever and we need to prevail and push harder. We look to stay ahead of the trend curve. The biggest takeaway is that everyone in our company contributes to the concept of innovation and our perpetual success.
References: lifetimebrands, mikasa