KOHLER, Wis. – Aug. 4, 2023 – Fast Company announced Kohler Co. as a finalist on its annual Best Workplaces for Innovators list within the Sustained Excellence sector, honoring organizations and businesses that demonstrate a steadfast commitment to encouraging innovation at all levels. This prestigious list generated by Fast Co. judges includes only a dozen companies that have demonstrated ongoing achievement in cultivating cultures of innovation.
“Innovation is part of our DNA, and throughout our history, we have encouraged our associates to think boldly and differently,” says Laura Kohler, Chief Sustainability and DEI Officer for Kohler Co. “This commitment to reimagining what’s possible is what leads Kohler associates to become more and to become catalysts for change—at work and in their communities."
Kohler is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year with a unifying theme of “Come All Creators” -- encouraging all passionate creators to join the global brand’s pursuit of continuous improvement in providing gracious living for future generations through better design, innovation, wellness, and sustainability.
“We believe that if we can create a culture that encourages diverse teams who thrive in an inclusive environment, we can achieve significant innovation impact,” says Laura Kohler.
Initiatives that secured Kohler’s inclusion are rooted in the company’s Believing in Better operating philosophy that strives to enhance the quality of life for current and future generations through design, craftsmanship, and innovation. The company’s cultural belief in Boldly Innovating encourages and empowers associates to take action, cultivating creativity and innovation at all levels of the global entity. These and other initiatives including innovative solutions from the company’s Kitchen & Bath, Energy and Hospitality & Real Estate businesses were recently shared in Kohler’s 2022 Believing in Better Report.
- Kohler Innovation for Good started out as an associate led initiative to drive further environmental and social innovation. It has since evolved into a formal idea incubator focused on commercializing new business opportunities with a social and environmental purpose.
- Kohler WasteLAB is one of several success stories born out of Kohler’s Innovation for Good® program and the company’s first circularity business. It looks to nature as a model for sustainable processes – where waste simply doesn’t exist. Through this approach, Kohler WasteLAB® leverages a manufacturing process that transforms landfill-bound materials into functional products of style and beauty.
- The I-Prize challenge, an annual internal global competition within Kohler’s Innovation for Good program, propels innovation from interested Kohler associates who team up from around the globe. These new business solutions that address social and environmental issues are pitched to Kohler’s top leadership team for incubation funding.
- Kohler brought its culture of innovation external by hosting the inaugural M-Prize in partnership with Marquette University. Kohler challenged Marquette undergraduate students from all colleges to develop and pitch their own unique ideas for how to design more inclusive kitchen and bathroom products.
- Kohler provides opportunities for associates to connect to their purpose and passion through Business Resource Groups (BRGs), community stewardship teams, engagement committees and more. These opportunities give associates a platform to solve business challenges, bring forward solutions, and grow and develop personally and professionally – all while making a meaningful impact in our workplace and world.
- Developing innovative products that serve customers and communities is a key pillar of Kohler’s signature initiative around water, sanitation, and hygiene access, Safe Water for All. Kohler believes access to clean and safe water is a right and is committed to using its expertise, innovation, and platform to be a catalyst for global change.
- Kohler Kitchen and Bath hosted 46 hours of global ideation sessions, resulting in 135 ideas generated, of which 33 ideas have been integrated into active new product development or product roadmaps, representing a 25% transfer rate.
- Kohler’s innovative products have also received third-party recognition. Time highlighted Kohler’s H2Wise+ and Perfect Fill in its list of Best inventions of 2022 and CES2023 recognized Stillness Bath as an innovation honoree.
- Kohler Energy partnered with Polar explorer Robert Swan on his excursion through Antarctica to the Geographic South Pole where he relied only on renewable energy sources. Kohler custom engineered a KOHLER generator that utilized a KOHLER diesel engine fueled by hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO). The off-grid sustainable system provided the energy needed to operate Swan's base camp and provide battery charge to his mobile equipment.
About Kohler Co.
For 150 years, Kohler Co. has been a global leader in design and innovation, dedicated to providing gracious living through kitchen and bath products; luxury cabinetry, tile and lighting; distributed energy solutions – home energy, industrial power systems, and powertrain technologies – and luxury hospitality experiences and major championship golf. Kohler’s Whistling Straits golf course hosted the 43rd Ryder Cup in 2021. Privately held Kohler Co. was founded in 1873 and is headquartered in Kohler, Wisconsin. The company also develops solutions to address pressing issues, such as clean water and sanitation, for underserved communities around the world to enhance the quality of life for current and future generations.
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