Innovation in Food business is a high speed train, with Foodtech and start-up changing the rules of the game. Most Food & Beverage companies have engaged their transformation to reinvent themselves and catch the train.
Rethinking their ways of working by adopting a more start-up spirit while start-ups themselves are struggling to find a bigger partner to scale up their ideas/prototypes (e.g. industrialization and distribution).
From my experience in leading product innovation in multinational organizations and immersing myself in the FoodTech/start-up ecosystem, here are 8 topics to address to set up an efficient innovation structure and to accelerate innovation.
Business model: validation or creation: large companies usually validate their innovation pipeline by following those business models which ensured their success in the past. The purpose of a start-up is to prove the validity of a business model, from both a good idea and the ability to scale it up. Both models require 2 different approaches to risk taking: going beyond comfort zone for a big company and anticipating barriers to scale up for a start-up.
Iconic brand or trust in brand: consumers are losing confidence in traditional brands, while adopting new baby-brands often because they tend to buy on top of a good product the values and story of their founder. For a start-up, it is all about making the buzz through digital channels to get consumers’ endorsement and loyalty. For a big brand, is it about reinventing themselves by using start-up tools or starting from scratch by acquiring one of these nuggets.
Innovation strategy or purpose: most companies put in place innovation strategies to make innovations while making an innovation is the single purpose for a start-up. Does it mean the people behind are different in their mindset and attitudes, in terms of vision, gutfeel and rational?
Internal expertise or “uberinnovation”: open innovation is trendy nowadays and is a pillar of large companies’ transformation. It is a prerequisite for a start-up, just because of its size. One of the challenge for a big company is to move to an open innovation mode while keeping its DNA and employee motivation/engagement. How to move from the well-known silo-organization to an efficient innovation structure, such as internal satellites to full innovation outsourcing?
Process or test & learn: in large companies, innovation strategies translate into innovation pipeline, steering/decision committees, supported by various project management tools. A start up spends much less time on that, all energy goes on doing, learning, improving (and raising funds). What’s best out of both to find the waouh idea and to be excellent in execution?
Conviction or follow the rules: who has the innovation mandate in a big company has in his/her objective to launch successes on the market. While vision and gutfeel are core qualities, following the company or brand strategy is part of the challenge. What happens when vision and gutfeel shake some of the established rules …a visionnaire might leave the company to set up his/her own, a good employee might stay and achieve his/her objectives. How to manage gut feels and rationales and keep those who are the seeds of success?
Manage or drive agendas: we all face the 24-hours-a day challenge, and most innovation managers do more than innovation in a company: they manage daily business, they manage a team, they do their emails, they attend many meetings. All this for about 50% of their time. On top of this, they must influence, convince, align, engage both their teams and their bosses to validate their ideas and get the budget! How do they find time to innovate, really?
Consumer tests or co-creation: Most big companies spend huge budgets in consumer tests, to validate a concept, to calculate purchase (and re-purchase) intention. A start up is born with digital and interaction with consumers is just part of the innovation journey. Whatever the model, it is all about getting the consumer in the innovation process today to create the success of tomorrow.
To sum up, there are 8 key points to address to structure and accelerate innovation, taking the best out of a big company and a start-up model:
Christel Magnani – firstname.lastname@example.org – www.agilinn.com – Linkedin