Food Tech

5 tips for innovating through disruption

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Corporate innovators must produce ideas and products that drive business forward quickly and successfully. In times of disruption, this is a real challenge. Here are five tips for food manufacturers to navigate the unknown.

Start with the end goal and get customer feedback

Establish a product’s end goal that aligns with company direction, strategic investments and is expected to bring long-term value to consumers. Then, get customer feedback through every stage of the development process. This will help develop products that truly resonate in the market.

  • Establish an online community: Enable a broad conversation by connecting community members. Ask questions, get feedback, and grow consumer intel.
  • Showcase prototypes: Send prototypes and products to consumers’ homes or show them off via video.
  • Conduct surveys: Surveys give you quantifiable data. Use email, text, or pop-up surveys, or get feedback from customer service calls.
  • Run Voice of Customer (VoC) programs: Run a VoC program like “Net Promoter Score” to check the pulse on how consumers experience brands, products, and services.

Develop Learnings Faster

Today’s environment requires speed and business agility. Build iterative consumer feedback loops into your gated processes – borrowed from high-tech’s Agile methodology – so you can fail faster (yes, failing fast is a good thing!) and apply learnings toward existing and future products.

Keep innovation front and centre

All levels in the organisation should understand that innovation initiatives are key growth drivers.

  • Use research: Up your digital feedback game and employ research professionals to analyse feedback.
  • Implement innovation scorecards: Scorecards provide transparency. Key financials, critical cross-functional risks, ability to win, and timeline information should all be in one place, so decision makers have crucial information at hand.
  • Get executive level buy-in: The role of the innovation function is to provide leadership with information to guide direction and decision making. Executives need input from people “on the ground” that are working with customers, backed with trusted data.

Simplify investment decision making

Take a top-down, macro look at your portfolio of ideas to make it clear that projects align with corporate strategies and consumer needs.

Consumer behaviours are changing. This requires a nimble approach to managing your portfolio, with visibility and control to reprioritise projects, reassign resources and maintain innovation velocity.

For now, COVID-19 needs may require resource re-deployment and future plans should be reassessed to meet tomorrow’s “new norm” needs.

Generate transparent, cross-functional, trusted data

When there is a clear line of sight to trusted data, decisions can be made with more confidence. To scale up innovation activities that are aligned with strategy, organisations need to aggregate NPD and consumer information in a systematic way. You want to really look at the information you are generating from deep consumer interaction and evaluate what ideas should be pushed forward.

With disruption comes opportunity. Want to receive more practical advice and information from innovators for innovators? Click here to download “The Innovators Handbook – The Best & Latest in Corporation Innovation.”

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