CEO Kevin Johnson Ushers in New Generation of Starbucks


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CEO of Starbucks Kevin Johnson is starting the pace of innovation at the coffee giant, thanks to his technology background.

Johnson took over as CEO in April 2017. He was previously the CEO of Juniper Networks and a top executive at Microsoft. Since Johnson took over, shares of Starbucks gained nearly 64 percent. Once he took over, he observed the velocity of innovation was slowing down at Starbucks. The coffee giant has 31,000 stores and “scale and complexity can be the enemy of speed.”

Under Johnson, Starbucks has taken its long innovation cycle to one where the company moves from idea to action in 100 days.

Johnson is embracing the human-centered design of Starbucks. “There’s a methodology you go about where with quantitative and qualitative research to identify for customers and our partners what are the things we need to design to make their experience better?”

Additionally, Johnson put together small, cross-functional groups of 15 or fewer from different areas throughout the company to come up with different and better solutions.

“They move faster, the solutions are more relevant to our customers, they’re more inspiring to our partners, and it is transforming the way we work at Starbucks.”

Johnson believes in empowering employees at all levels to tackle some problems. Starbucks posts company projects on the internal website called Springboard to collect feedback. A subset of these projects enter the Tryer Center. It is an innovation lab that allows employees to test beverages, prototype, and build new equipment. This helps Starbucks work with the employees to make the in-store experience more efficient.

The Tryer Center opened at the Seattle headquarters in November 2008. At this time, more than 130 projects have been tested and dozens are in stores.

By Jeanette Smith


Yahoo! Finance: How tech-savvy Kevin Johnson is creating ‘the next generation’ of Starbucks  

Image Courtesy of Alan Sung’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License