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Global Innovation Director in Flexible - Germany or US at ITW Seats, Safety & Motion

Date Posted: 5/13/2019

Job Snapshot

Job Description

ITW (Illinois Tool Works Inc.) is a Fortune 200 company and is one of the world’s leading diversified manufacturers of specialized industrial equipment, automotive components, consumables, and related service businesses. ITW businesses serve local customers and markets around the globe, with operations in 55 countries and an employee base of more than 48,000 women and men who adhere to the highest ethical standards. These talented individuals, many of whom have specialized engineering or scientific expertise, contribute to our global leadership in innovation. We are proud of our broad portfolio of more than 17,000 granted and pending patents.

The Seats, Safety & Motion Division within the ITW Automotive Segment delivers highly differentiated, precision-engineered plastic solutions to our “80” global OEMs & Tiers across North America and Europe through customer back innovation, targeted at addressing the emerging pain points associated with passenger seating & comfort, and ensuring best-in-class quality & delivery through our commitment to 80/20 operational excellence. ​ 


Position Summary:

The Global Innovation Director is a critical leadership role for the Division responsible for executing against our strategic intent to deliver above market organic growth through new product innovation.  The key responsibilities of the role are to carefully manage and develop the product portfolio by defending the strength and value of existing “80 products” and by developing deep intimacy with our “80 customers” to discover new solutions and products that can that deliver increasing value and incremental high-quality growth to the business over the long term.


As a member of the division leadership team, this individual will also be responsible for working collaboratively with the team to deliver and support our business goals for 80/20 operational excellence, zero safety incidents and an inclusive and diverse work place that support our ITW values of Integrity, Respect, Trust, Shared Risk, and Simplicity

Reporting: VPGM – Seats, Safety & Motion


  • Lead Division New Product Growth Strategy by using an “outside in” approach to identify opportunities for unique and differentiated solutions for Seats, Safety & Motion Products.
  •          Support VPGM on deployment and execution of the Customer Back Innovation Process to ensure cross functional alignment, risk management and financial goals and time-lines achieved.
  •          Drive decisions, innovation and accountability using business case criteria and balanced risk analysis. Work closely with S&E organization to drive discovery, value selling and launch of innovative products.
  •          Develop relationships with Global Advanced Engineering and R&D teams at OEMs and Tiers to understand the product impact of changing strategies.
  •          Periodically seek VOC (OEM’s and Tiers) and competitive research to develop, strengthen and maintain an Innovation Pipeline and Product Portfolio that supports the growth objectives of the division.
  •          Collaborate across ITW divisions and segments & corporate functions to leverage expertise and to learn and share best practices for innovation process and drive synergies as required.
  •          Partners with VP/GM and the Division Leadership Team to develop and execute Annual and Long Range Plans for the innovation pipeline and new product growth based on in-depth understanding of product portfolio position, opportunity analysis, intimacy of customer pain points and competitive position in global markets. 
  •          Manage Division IP portfolio by ensuring new technology is properly protected and existing IP is evaluated.  Work closely with Group Technology Counsel on IP strategy and filings.
  •          Develop high performing global innovation team through the process of organization design, competency development and the recruiting, hiring and developing talent to maximize individual and team success. Fosters a culture of engagement, cascading vision, and creating goal alignment
  • Champion the ITW Leadership Development framework developing talent for the business and for the enterprise. 
  • Fosters a culture of engagement and inclusivity that is aligned with our values.

Job Requirements


      B.S./B.A. degree required from four-year College in Engineering or equivalent ITW experiences; Master’s Degree a  plus.

    10+ years of progressive business experience including at least 3-5 years of product management and/or product development experience.

      5+ years’ experience with Automotive systems, standards and product development activities coupled with proven track record of Innovation in the Automotive industry – from identifying market opportunities to commercializing solutions with proven success and revenue growth.

       Understanding of plastic injection molding and Automotive interior systems in a plus.  

     Well-versed in deploying voice of the customer and marketing research tools and processes that drive short and long term product strategy.

     Outstanding project manager of cross functional teams who can provide leadership and discipline through product development process that carefully balances time-to-market with project risk to achieve results. 

      Solid financial abilities including working knowledge of budgeting, sales and business development tools.

   A high energy, team player with demonstrated ability to build a high performing team and collaborative cross-functional relationships and motivates others to excel.

    Excellent communication skills and ability to build consensus and gain internal alignment across different stakeholder groups – cross functional team, Division management and executive leadership. 

    Entrepreneurial spirit coupled with a strategic, forward-thinking approach to business growth

    Sound 80/20 mindset, understanding and demonstrated experience. 

    Fluent in English. Knowledge of German or Spanish is a plus.


Special Requirements:

Position requires travel globally (up to 40% in North America & Europe).  Must have valid driver’s license and good driving record. Must be able to travel internationally, if required.

Automotive OEM
ITW’s Automotive OEM segment designs and manufactures innovative fasteners, interior and exterior components, and powertrain and braking systems for OEMs and their top-tier suppliers. ITW’s automotive businesses have a high level of customer intimacy, enabling customer-back innovation to address complex needs such as vehicle efficiency, safety, and quality. Deep market knowledge and strong manufacturing process capabilities allow ITW’s automotive businesses to be nimble, niche problem solvers for their sophisticated customers.