GlaxoSmithKline SMART Working Program

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In a long and successful ten-year partnership with GSK, AECOM defined the strategic brief and design concept for seven groundbreaking Innovation Hubs in the UK and USA, helping GSK to leverage space as an enabler in driving innovation and hit their goal of achieving double-digit growth. AECOM also created GSK’s Global Workplace Guidelines and undertook various research, strategy and design projects for Corporate, R&D and Consumer Healthcare within GSK.

GSK strongly believe in the importance and impact of the Innovation Hubs in responding to the needs and challenges of the organisation. Change Management was instrumental to the success of the project – it was led by HR, who drove an intense Change Management programme, sponsored by leadership and rolled out across the UK and US with the support of AECOM.

With the SMART Working program, GSK sought to create a work environment where ideas would flow more freely, decisions would be reached faster and the environment would act as a catalyst to enabling its strategic priorities:

  • Grow a diversified business
  • Deliver more products of value
  • Simplify the operational model
  • Create a culture of empowerment
  • Build trust

AECOM helped GSK to define these ideas and use them to create a Strategic Brief which addressed these goals and presented ways in which they could be achieved within the design of future workspace. This was put into practice in the form of seven Innovation Hubs, for which AECOM created the design concept. The Hubs were an exercise in bringing the customer to the heart of the workplace, through enhanced brand visibility and increased consumer awareness. A non-hierarchical, highly flexible, visible and efficient design was created which has a positive and measurable impact on individual and team performance. A post-occupancy evaluation revealed a 45% increase in the speed of decision-making and an 18% increase in perceived responsiveness to market. In addition, group collaboration and access to colleagues has increased significantly. Added to this, a 24% increase in the perceived importance of cross-team interaction in impacting innovation levels was found. Their ‘Beauty of Quitting’ Campaign was a product of the hubs, which estimated to have yielded increased sales in the US worth $50m.

The SMART Workplace program has been identified as a key contributing factor increased innovation, reduced product development cycles, boosted collaboration, and improved employee satisfaction. Post occupancy evaluations showed:

  • 45 percent increase in speed of decision making
  • 67 percent decrease in time lost by employees due to waiting for decisions, duplicating efforts
  • Email volume cut in half
  • 42 percent increase in group effectiveness