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Designing and promoting institutional change: Geoff Graham of Corteva talks about CIMMYT

When trying to drive change in a global research organization, the science is the easy part, according to Geoff Graham, Vice President for Plant Breeding at Corteva Agriscience, a new company that brings together DuPont Crop Protection, DuPont Pioneer, and Dow AgroSciences.

“The hard thing is to change organizational culture—getting people to stop remembering how they’ve always done things and to think instead about what needs to be done,” said Graham, speaking on the topic to more than 600 international scientists and support staff at the Mexico headquarters of the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) on 25 June 2018.

“Innovation is a process that can be managed, but it takes time and must be prioritized,” he explained, in his keynote talk during the opening session of CIMMYT’s biennial Science Week, which brings together the center’s researchers from 15 offices in Africa, Asia, and Latin America and this year focused on next-generation science and partnerships for impact.

“Innovation may require creativity, but innovation and creativity are different things,” added Graham, whose family lived in Cali, Colombia, until he was 14 and then moved to Minnesota in the U.S.

Responsible for global breeding activities at Corteva, a name derived from a combination of words meaning “heart” and “nature,” Geoff previously worked at DuPont Pioneer. He has Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees from the University of Minnesota, and earned a Ph.D. in genetics and plant breeding from North Carolina State University.

Below, watch an interview with Graham regarding the role of research institutions in society, how change can occur in CIMMYT, and how Corteva will support the CIMMYT-led CGIAR Excellence in Breeding Platform.