After taking a nearly year-long work sabbatical to focus on personal values and reflect on his multi-decade career as a technologist for Mylan and Nike, Michael Smith joined Estee Lauder as CIO in August of 2017. With him, he carried over insightful perspectives regarding the necessary ingredients for a successful, high-performing IT division, which paired well with the already strong team awaiting his expertise at Estee Lauder. Among his many contributions to consumer-focused initiatives, one of Michael’s recent highlights includes his consolidation from nine to two team locations and a new Long Island City-based technology hub.
In an interview with Forbes, Smith describes the tech hub as “a merging of prestige beauty and tech. The space is open, it is designed for innovation and collaboration, and it is a great place for people to work.” He goes on to explain additional inspirations behind this development, including the ability to both collaborate — and deliver technology to its consumer base — differently. Major changes also include a waterfall approach versus its prior agile one, as well as the implementation of DevOps to essentially pick up the face and deliver faster consumer satisfaction.
“I am motivated by the ability to be a consumer. Being able to participate in the consumer experience provides insights, and ultimately, innovation starts with empathy,” said Smith, according to Forbes. “Whether we are empathizing and putting ourselves in the shoes of somebody in the supply chain, someone from HR, or a beauty adviser on the floor, that is where we have to understand those needs in a personal way to be able to meet them to the fullest.”
Learn more about the Estee Lauder technology hub here.