“My role is about creating an environment at Navico where all our people have the opportunity to develop, succeed and be themselves when they come to work.”

We caught up with our CPO, Simon Little, who joined the company in 2020 to talk Navico, employee engagement and the key to building an innovation culture… ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

When joining Navico, what were your first impressions?

Our people really care about the products we put out there and we have subject matter expertise that give us a great opportunity to win in our markets.

CPO may not be a role familiar to everyone – what do you see as your role at Navico as CPO?

My role is about creating an environment at Navico where all our people have the opportunity to develop, succeed and be themselves when they come to work. It’s our people that differentiate us from the other companies out there, and it’s our people that give us the competitive edge.

When we bring together a group of diverse and talented people that work to create a high performing culture, we have something special.

The ‘People’ organisation is brand new to Navico, how do you see it working?

This one is work in progress… I am meeting the People team and working hard to understand the role that the People function plays today. Going forward the People function will partner with the business to deliver on the People agenda. We will prioritise learning and development, recognition, reward and performance management, as well as internal communication. ​​​​​​​

Previously working at Dyson, you’ve come from an innovation-focused culture – something that is a big priority at Navico. What do you think is the key to building innovation in a workforce?

For sure there isn’t one single thing you can do to create an innovative culture, but building an environment that values problem solving and encourages unconventional thinking is a good place to start. ​​​​​​​

I also believe that innovation happens when people’s thinking is not constrained by what’s currently possible and where communication is open and honest. Dyson are very good at failing, but failing fast and moving on quickly in pursuit of the next innovation.

What was your knowledge of marine electronics before joining Navico? What drew you to the company?

I have sailed all my life, so I have grown up with B&G (and to a lesser extent) Simrad. Lowrance and C-MAP are new to me,and I’m enjoying getting to know the technology, as well as the people behind all our products. ​​​​​​​

I have also spent my recent career working with R&D and engineering, so I am very familiar with Electrical and Mechanical Engineering, Hardware, Software, Machine Learning and AI.

Are People really a company’s greatest asset? What’s the key to unleashing its maximum potential?

Absolutely, without any doubt! Without our people there would be no products, no brands, no route to market and no way to support our customers. Our people are integral to what we do and who we are at Navico. There is no secret to it, but get the basics right and build from there is the way to go.