Institutionalizing Serious Play at J&J

A leader's guide to inspiring bold, creative risk-taking

Project breakdown

12 weeks from initial interview to press hand-off

300+ hours of strategy, writing and design

15 in-depth, one-on-one interviews from New Brunswick to Shanghai to Moscow

200+ pages of transcripts

capabilities: strategy, writing, creative direction, graphic design, production coordination, inter-agency collaboration


The background

After sparking a cultural revolution at Johnson & Johnson where he built a 23,000-person community of everyday innovators, Steve Garguilo, the founder of Cultivate, was ready for a new challenge—he wanted to help other large organizations access the untapped creativity and ingenuity of their teams.


The problem

In just a few short years, Steve had successfully engineered a cultural revolution by building a self-sustaining platform for creative risk-taking at J&J. Using little more than creative ingenuity, fearless experimentation, intentional programming, and mass collaboration, Steve and his ever-growing band of creative instigators built a grass roots movement that started with 60 people in the back room of a bar in Princeton, NJ for the inaugural TEDxJNJ and grew to a sophisticated global platform for creative engagement, idea generation, and new value creation.  

Though the future success of the Office of Creative Engagement was in no way dependent on the sole efforts or financial resources of Steve's small team, it did thrive under Steve's charismatic and intuitive style of leadership, and he was concerned that the “casual” appearance of the intentional programming and rigorous infrastructure might be lost without an informed advocate. It became apparent that he would need to leave behind a manual of sorts to help preserve the programming that he was leaving behind, while providing a blueprint for others to build on.


How we helped

We worked with Steve to do two things: make explicit the intuitive framework he used to inform his vision and decision-making, and develop in-depth case studies that illustrated the impact individual community members were having in their organizations and markets around the world.

This allowed Steve to start a new chapter in his career and life, while ensuring that the methods and insights he left behind would continue to evolve and grow without his ongoing stewardship.


creative highlights