Darmstadt, Germany, October 21, 2015 – Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a leading science and technology company, today presented the first “State of Curiosity” report in the U.S. The company aims to spur a conversation about curiosity and innovation in the market where it makes almost a fifth of its revenue and is set to expand further.
The online survey of more than 2,000 U.S. adult workers, sponsored by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany and conducted this summer by Harris Poll, is designed to understand the overall state of professional inquisitiveness. With this report, the company aims to explore how curiosity is generated and whether it can be taught. Based on the research across 16 select industries and a national sample of workers, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany will take a closer look at the relationship to innovation, discovery and generating new ideas. The results can then provide the basis for a roadmap to help foster a culture of curiosity.
“A culture of asking questions – the really big ones and the seemingly small, incremental ones – is critical for innovation,” said Karl-Ludwig Kley, Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, when presenting the results to scientists, politicians and partners at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. “By encouraging the pursuit of the great questions in science and technology, we hope to accelerate the breakthroughs of tomorrow.”
Index of Curiosity in the Workplace
The study includes a “Curiosity Index,” which assigns an overall score to the surveyed workers’ organizations based on responses to a variety of curiosity measures. Employees working in household and personal products and in entertainment and media gave their organizations the highest average curiosity scores, while the food and beverage industry ranked the lowest.
The study also found a disparity between the value employees place on curiosity and their perceived ability to exercise it in daily work life. Nearly nine in 10 American workers (88%) believe that curious people are more likely to bring ideas to life at work, while only about one-fifth (22%) say they are curious, themselves, in the workplace. In addition, over half (60%) said they face barriers to exercising curiosity in the workplace. Most commonly cited barriers include reliance on a top-down approach within the organization, lack of financial support to pursue new or uncertain ideas, and limited time to think creatively.
“Curiosity is the springboard to discovering better strategies, tactics and products. When curiosity is supported in the workplace, employees feel energized, engaged and committed, and this helps drive innovation,” said psychology professor Dr. Todd Kashdan, an expert on the science of well-being and author of Curious, Discovering the Missing Ingredient to a Fulfilling Life. Kashdan partnered with Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany to analyze the State of Curiosity findings. “To create a culture of curiosity, leaders need to find ways to encourage employees to accept and harness the perfectly normal feelings of anxiety and excitement when confronting the unknown.”
A Milestone Year for Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany: 125th Anniversary in the U.S.
Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany over the past years has built up its presence in the U.S., with North American sales amounting to around €2.2 billion last year, almost a fifth of the Group’s net sales. With the pending Sigma-Aldrich merger, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany has the potential to double its footprint in the U.S. The company on Tuesday announced it had reached an agreement to fulfill commitments made to win antitrust clearance in Europe, in order to complete the $17 billion transaction.
For Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, which is celebrating its 125th anniversary in the U.S. this year, the country presents a growth platform for its three businesses – healthcare, life science and performance materials. With the acquisition of AZ Electronic Materials last year, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany doubled its Performance Materials presence in the U.S. and added some of the major U.S. semiconductor players to its mainly Asian customer base. In November 2014, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany formed a global strategic alliance with Pfizer to jointly develop and commercialize avelumab, an investigational anti-PD-L1 antibody, to accelerate the development of immuno-oncology medicines for patients with multiple types of cancer.
Question Together with Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany and Scientific American
To celebrate the company’s 125th year in the U.S., Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany today launched #QuestionTogether, a call-to-action inviting Americans to join the conversation on the biggest science and technology questions of today. This can be done in two ways: by posting a question online at www.sciamquestiontogether.com, or on Twitter with the hashtag #QuestionTogether. Editors from Scientific American magazine, in partnership with the company, will research and report on the top questions shared, and the results will appear online at www.125YearsSmarterTogether.com. The site also features a film designed to spark a discussion about the important role curiosity plays in advancing science and technology, and interviews with current and next-generation innovators.
“Curiosity is an essential part of who we are. We believe we are smarter together when we question together,” Kley said. “This curiosity has driven Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany’s nearly 350 years of breakthroughs in wide-ranging fields. We have built strong partnerships and created thousands of jobs in this country. We are here to stay – and look forward to another 125 years of American curiosity and ingenuity.”
The company, whose roots date back to 1668, established its U.S. business in 1890 and today operates as EMD Serono, EMD Millipore and EMD Performance Materials in the U.S. In the rest of the world, the Darmstadt, Germany-based company last week pledged to abolish its business-related brands Merck Millipore and Merck Serono in order to strengthen the Merck brand globally.
To learn more about the “Smarter, Together” campaign, and how the power of curiosity has driven scientific discovery at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, visit www.125YearsSmarterTogether.com.
About the Survey
The State of Curiosity survey was conducted online by Harris Poll, the public opinion polling subsidiary of Nielsen, on behalf of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany between August 13 and September 3, 2015, among 2,606 U.S. adults who are employed at companies with two or more employees, including a national representative sample of 1,013 workers and at least 125 workers in 16 select industries. For the complete State of Curiosity survey results and to learn more about how the power of curiosity drives scientific discovery at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, visit www.125YearsSmarterTogether.com.