The Artistry of Product Creation - in conversation with Tara J. Agen
We’re in conversation with Tara J. Agen, an innovative artist, businesswoman, and people-first leader. Tara recently retired from her 30-year Fortune 100 corporate executive position at HP Inc. In that role, Tara had the privilege to learn, grow, and lead a $3.5B business for HP.
As she reflects on that career at HP Inc., she wanted to share insights on how innovation happens and how she created production innovation with her team at HP Inc.
Tara, what aspect of your General Management/Category Management role running HP’s Displays and Accessories Business did you love most? As a lifelong artist, appreciator, and collector of art, you were pleasantly surprised to find a deep creative connection with the engineers on your team.
“I loved everything about my General Manager role and appreciated the opportunity to lead at HP in this capacity. One aspect I loved the most was working with the engineering community. I had the opportunity to lead Advanced Engineering, Product Development Engineering, and Quality Engineering in this role as a GM. My biggest learning was that the engineering and Product Management/ Brand Marketing communities were very similar in how they approached innovation, creation, and problem-first problem-solving. Although I had worked with engineers in my career path, this leadership opportunity gave me an opportunity to lead, grow, and learn with the HP engineer community, which I believe is the soul of the HP brand.
“As GM, I prioritized a people-first approach, letting the engineer leaders on the team know that I was there to learn from them and their teams. I let them know that, although my career path looked different from theirs, I could lead with creativity and with their support, receive on-the-job training and elevated guidance them to grow into being an optimal leader for them and supporter of their creativity, curiosity, and determination to be most innovative for our customers.
“Together, we realized that the way we could create a winning portfolio was twofold. First, we needed more customer insights to drive next-gen and leapfrogged innovation. Second, we needed to innovate with a more “firsts, best, and only” approach This came from a stronger partnership with innovators at our Original Design Manufacturing (ODM).
“Our collaborative efforts, including a passion to find more sustainable and substantial approaches to design, advanced engineering, and customer problem first product experiences led to awarding winning products from HP Displays and Accessories while it personally elevated my ability to be more artistic at work..
“Achieving your goals and progressing on your journey to success often comes down to investing in yourself and creating a shared journey with your team. I believe that we were able to drive and deliver double-digit growth because of the artistry and creativity of each team member who felt comfortable and confident in what they were creating for our customers. The engineering innovation that our team inspired and delivered Is seen today in how those team members are growing and leading at HP while continuing to elevate insights-driven innovation. From this experience, I realize the experience unlocked a wonderful curiosity in me to be more artistic, more creative, and more impactful in what is new and exciting for my next chapter. Stay tuned for much more here as the artist within, inspired by HP engineering and innovation, embraces the future faster for what I create next.”
Thank you for these insights, Tara. We are excited to see what you create next, too!
Connect with Tara on LinkedIn.
Tara J. Agen is a future-focused, creative collaborator with a 360-degree problem-solving perspective. Having led huge business transformations and driven growth for years, Tara is an inspirational expert at guiding strategy from inception through execution as well as attracting, developing, and retaining talent. A holistic communicator who creates win-win situations, Tara is an optimist.
Tara J. Agen - Future Focused Creative Collaborator
Future Focused Creative Collaborator - Tara J. Agen
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