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Humancentric Driven Innovation

December 18, 2019

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We talked to Augusto Mitidieri, CEO of Sintetica, a company that has embraced Human centred organization to be leader by innovation.

Sintetica, a Swiss pharmaceutical company established in 1921, is specialised in discovering and delivering innovative injectable anaesthetics and analgesics to patients worldwide. The company, which has branches in Switzerland, Germany, Austria and United Kingdom, employs more than 300 people from 31 different nationalities.

Recently, we talked to Augusto Mitidieri, CEO of Sintetica, to find out more about how the company is embedding the principles of Human centred organization changing towards more collaborative and less hierarchical organisational model.

“The Human centred organization model is about embracing collaborative and non-hierarchical working. All managers focus on coaching rather than commanding. I strongly believe this approach best harnesses the creativity and innovative potential of our employees as well as ensuring greater employee and client satisfaction. The idea of Human centred organization fundamentally changes how an organisation works, therefore it is a disruptive innovation in the company life.

The ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) established seven principles for Human centred organizations, we fully embraced at Sintetica:

• See difference as an organisational benefit;
• Have as their business objectives usability and accessibility;
• Have a total systems approach;
• Prioritise health, safety and wellbeing;
• Value employees;
• Value openness and trustworthiness;
• Be socially responsible.

Sintetica is highly dependent on innovation, considering that our mission is leadership by innovation.

Our commitment to staying ahead of the game is reflected in the company’s constant reinvention of therapies and drugs in local anaesthesia, pain management and neuromodulation.

To this end, the innovation department is not enough. People at all level of the organization has to be fully engaged to change, showing high degree of leadership.”


How have you implemented the principles of Human centred organization?

“We started several years ago with management culture. Over the years, we have changed our operations and management structure to give staff more power and autonomy. Our managers see now themselves as coaches, motivating staff to improve, offering support and rewarding
staff on merit.

One of our most important targets is what we call ‘peripheral decisional autonomy’ – which means that staff at all level of the company are actively encouraged to make decisions based on their own informed judgment. This diffused leadership is our receipt for the continuous generation of innovation. And we are experiencing great success.

At Sintetica, we want employees to reach their own personal goals, not just company goals. This approach is backed up by ensuring staff have access to high-level training at all time. We set up the Sintetica Never-Ending School, which is supported by MIP; the Politecnico di Milano Business School, to train people to become independent leaders. We also have a democratic digital training programme to make sure we are all keeping up with the digital age.

Respect and responsibility are two key words for us when thinking about employee-relationships at all levels of the organisation. Everyone in the organisation needs to have and show respect for others, and everyone needs to take responsibility for decision-making.”


But what about the employees?

“Generally, I think employees are happier working in an environment that fosters respect, improvement and career development. Passion is a motivating force for the company, and it is important for people to feel that they are making a difference – are having a social impact and making change for the better. We encourage people to smile – this improves wellbeing across the company. A true smile is contagious, and it is the identity of Sintetica and its concept of the company being a great place to work. This last is an objective for all the organization and not just the way to improve productivity. To me happiness can be only a goal.

The benefits we offer employees include smart offices and working conditions, gym membership, a free breakfast, fruit and drinks, that all-important maternity and paternity leave and childcare benefits. We are trying to move from a work-life balance concept to a healthy work life integration one, by providing an innovative platform of options to encourage people to reach their individual career, social and family goals.

This Human centred approach has also ensured we have a very low staff turnover rate and can attract high-level talent despite our medium size.”


What about those outside your company?

“These principles extend to our customers, and we apply to them the same values that define our company. And it means that we, as a company, do everything we can to deliver the best care for patients.

We take our corporate responsibility very seriously.

For example, environmental sustainability is another of our core priorities. We rely on 100% green renewable energy to power our sites. In addition to this, we have also invested in technology to reduce Co2 emissions and water consumption. The company powers all of its manufacturing sites with 100 percent green renewable energy and has
invested in energy-saving digitalised technology plants that reduced CO2 emissions and water consumption. We promote a car sharing scheme for employees.”


What about innovation?

“We are in a very exciting period of growth. Recently, we’ve received the approval for a new drug application in the US which
will improve safety and sterility in hypotension management during surgery. On this side of the Ocean, we are shortly going to receive a pan European approval for a novel chemical entity enhancing the peripheral blocks as a technique of anaesthesia in day surgery. The significance of these achievements shouldn’t be underplayed – we are one of the few medium-sized companies to have achieved these. And the pipeline is full of new medicines, some of those pure disruptive innovations, which will come to market in the next future.

Overall, I would say that the innovative changes we have made to our management structures has allowed us to make a happier, healthier, more innovative and successful company.”

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