Retail food and drink trends, Food Tech

Co-creating product ideas with consumers

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Hain Celestial is undergoing a strategic shift to simplify its portfolio, strengthen innovation capabilities, restore top-line growth, and expand margins and cash flow. At the centre of this is the implementation of new, agile innovation operating models that ensure resources are prioritised and their critical talent is focused on the brands and categories that will deliver the greatest growth.

Starting with the end in mind: agile food innovation

To ensure products resonate in the market, Hain’s team identifies prime business opportunities for the portfolio pipeline while simultaneously tracking market change and targeting consumer needs. Once established, product ideas can be generated. From day one, consumers are part of Hain’s innovation practice; concepts and products are co-created.

Often, people see innovation as unbridled creativity, and almost at the opposite end of the spectrum of process and discipline, but Jeff George strongly disagrees as “innovation is about understanding consumer needs, and then creating a bounded space, in which innovation can thrive.”

The concept of “agile” innovation at Hain Celestial is adopted from the high-tech industry. Through rapid iteration and prototyping, with customer feedback loops consistently giving insights and directing further development, products evolve and help Hain to have a better sense of consumer needs and how to meet them. It comes down to persevering, pivoting, or killing an idea, depending on the output of where consumers guide the company.

While innovation at Hain centres around the consumer, time creates urgency and calls for discipline and progress. Having a deadline, already in the early stages of generating ideas through testing and validation, is imperative. Ultimately, a launch date creates a healthy sense of urgency within innovation teams to deliver timely products and get ahead of the competition.

When an organisation disconnects the sense of purpose, or the sense of time, innovation practices are less productive. Agile innovation, however, requires process accountability and discipline, supported by software that governs the NPD process, keeping innovation teams focused from the inception of the idea through an ultimately successful product launch.

The link between agile innovation, discipline, progress, and governance

Hain Celestial uses a software called Accolade®, provided by Sopheon, which empowers the company to reevaluate their portfolio, simplify or “trim the fat” in some cases, and reprioritise investments in more opportune areas.

Sopheon’s Accolade enables a nimble portfolio; as consumer needs change— along with shifting corporate strategy to meet these needs — it gives the visibility and control needed to make informed decisions, reprioritise projects, reassign resources and maintain innovation velocity.

Accolade starts at the top by digitalising strategic initiatives and getting them into a measurable, definable state. Using the software accelerates execution by providing a process unique to Hain’s needs but standardised across the organisation for all innovation and commercialisation projects to follow, effectively providing a single source of truth for NPD activity. It is about capturing the innovation process, deliverables and documents that support decision making.

At Hain Celestial, Sopheon’s Accolade software helps maintain simplicity and clarity by having better reporting and providing visibility. Portfolio decisions are more informed and can be made faster.

Interested in hearing more about the innovation transformation at Hain Celestial? Click here and have a listen.

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Starting with the end in mind: agile food innovation at Hain Celestial