Johnson & Johnson

Rethinking the Training Process

When a company adds a complex, new surgical product to its line every month, it can be challenging to keep salespeople up to date on each product. With each new product, salespeople end up spending more time in the classroom rather than in the field.

J&J had this problem with their thousand-plus medical instrument sales staff, so they decided to rethink their training process. Their previous approach placed an emphasis on giving salespeople a foundation in human anatomy and general surgical procedures before going in-depth on how each of the J&J devices functioned. Often, their strategy made it difficult to discuss specific devices without constant repetition and reference to previous material.

Using Systematic Inventive Thinking, J&J was able to devise a more innovative curriculum and training strategy. Their solution was to streamline the training by bundling together all relevant anatomical, organ-related, and medical procedural knowledge with information about the specific device in product-centric modules. As a result, the salespeople better understood how J&J products fit within the medical ecosystem and could communicate this to their customers more effectively. The modules were delivered through short segments spread over twelve months. Salespeople got into the field sooner, putting their training into practice (and selling!) right away.

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