No innovation success … without clear objectives
10 Aug 2017

No innovation success … without clear objectives

In the previous ‘Innovation brakes’ we talked about the importance of getting the innovation team structure right. In this blog we discuss the importance of objective setting. Despite the order of our blogs, it important to set the objective before you select your team! Then you can tailor your team choices to the specific objectives.

Objectives should be clear, specific and measurable. ‘We want to launch new products’ is not enough. The objectives of the project need to answer the why; to fill a factory, to meet a new need, to service a new demographic, to target a competitor offering?  This ‘why’ gives the team focus and a yardstick for assessing ideas.  A single project can have multiple ‘whys’. In fact, to be successful the objective and project must be meeting a consumer need, as well as any commercial objectives. (We will return to the topic of meeting real consumer needs in a future blog.)

An objective should be empowering rather than disabling. Too limiting and the team will be frustrated and the project doomed. Too broad and the team will flounder without clear targets to aim for. An objective should be inspiring for the team and motivating for the stakeholders. This helps everyone get behind the project. In addition a specific and well crafted objective helps the team maintain focus in the face of challenges.

workshop can be a great tool to define, refine and test an innovation objective.

Nespresso on Ice – Limited Editions
3 Jul 2017

Nespresso on Ice – Limited Editions

We’re very excited to see our friends at Nespresso have lunched two limited edition coffee blends to deliver full refreshment and full coffee taste on ice.

It was great fun brainstorming with the team back in the Autumn of 2015.  It was really impressive to see how fast they were able to activate the initial comms-based ideas in the pipeline.

Not only do the two new blends look amazingly ‘cool’ – there’s a stylish and refreshing comms package to support the launch.

Nice one nespresso!

Wrong team structure
29 Jun 2017

Wrong team structure

The second in our series of ‘innovation brakes’…the importance of building the right innovation team.

Size is important. Too few team members and it’s likely nothing will happen around peoples’ day job commitments. Too many people and you risk death by indecision.

Get the right balance of perfectionists and pragmatists. The perfectionists will set high standards but the pragmatists will realise that getting things done is more important than getting things perfect.  Together perfectionists and pragmatists encourage a healthy approach to constant development and optimisation.

Cross-functionality is important too. Key functions should be represented from the beginning to stop anyone killing the idea dead at later feasibility stages.  Marketers need to lead from the front as the champions of ‘long term demand creation’ but they will struggle to bring a product to market without the support of sales, trade marketing, finance, production and supply chain.

A senior stakeholder can be invaluable to push through budget and resource debates. A senior stakeholder can also provide clarity of vision and focus on the end goal as they won’t be distracted by the day-to-day tasks of developing the project.

An objective setting and ideation workshop is a great way to help build a team dynamic and create commitment to the cause, right at the beginning of the innovation process.

The fear of failure
29 Jun 2017

The fear of failure

The best innovations are the ones that we now can’t imagine living without, but in a world where ‘new’ quickly becomes ‘same-old’, how can a brand avoid the pitfalls of innovation. In this new series of blogs, we take a look at the biggest ‘brakes on innovation’ and the mistakes to avoid.

The biggest limitation on any innovation project is the fear of failure.

Many companies set a tone and culture that values success to such an extent that failures cannot be risked, acknowledged or learnt from.  Knowing that it’s okay to fail can free employees to take risks and potentially develop groundbreaking new products.

One of the many reasons behind Google’s phenomenal success is its approach to failure. People remember hits more than misses; Google is known for YouTube, not Google Video Player. Within Google, it’s okay to fail as long as you learn from your mistakes and correct them quickly.

Google AdSense and Answers, were both uncharted territory for the organisation. While Google AdSense grew to be a multi-billion-dollar business, Google Answers, an on-line knowledge market, was shut down after only a few years. If Google had been afraid to fail, they never would have tried Google Answers or AdSense, and missed an opportunity to learn and an opportunity to succeed.

There should be no stigma attached to failure. A philosophy should be established at the highest level; if you do not fail often, you are not trying hard enough. Once a product fails to reach its potential, it should be axed, but the team should be allowed to learn from the experience.

The best way to avoid a fear of failure holding you back is to set up a series of experiments concurrently. As they progress down the innovation funnel build for success but recognise and learn from failures too.

Check out how we can help you overcome your fear of failure!

Premier Launches Batchelors’ Protein Pots
1 Nov 2016

Premier Launches Batchelors’ Protein Pots

It’s very exciting to see yet another launch from our lovely clients at Premier Foods.

Designed to capitalise on the consumers’ demand for quick, convenient, high-protein snacks and light-meals Batchelors’ microwaveable ambient protein pots turn wholesome, high-protein beans and pulses into quick and appealing meal solutions.

If this case-history has inspired you, and you have similar challenges where our insight, ideation and concept co-creation skills might add value for you – we’d love to hear from you!

London Trends Safari
24 Oct 2016

London Trends Safari

To paraphrase Einstein: If you keep taking inspiration from the same old things, you are bound to come up with the same old ideas!

We make huge efforts to ensure our ideation-workshops are packed with stimulus that triggers creative thinking.  One of the most inspiring we have run recently, has been for a client who is seeking to target young, stylish, highly-creative adults.

To fire-up the team’s imagination and make sure they were truly in-tune with the world of their target-audience, we took them on a guided ‘cultural tour’ of some of London’s more cutting edge and creatively inspiring areas.  A day-long stomp around Spitalfields, Shoreditch, Dalston and Hackney took us from the rapidly gentrifying streets dominated by family-friendly craft shops and foodies-stores; out to the edges of the territory being colonised by conceptual tattooists, artists and the most adventurous of hipsters!

A lot of coffee, some cracking veggie nosh and lots of visual and cultural stimulation later we were ready to start sorting through what we’d seen and begin organising it into ‘stimulation packs’ to get the workshop team really thinking.

The secret to a great ‘stimulation pack’ is the juxtaposition of the inspiring ‘craft’ and ‘experiential’ initiatives the team observed on their day out, with more mainstream case-histories to help the team visualise how they might be scaled and commercialised … to give them the courage to have a go at something equally disruptive themselves.

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We shared the stimulation packs in a high-energy creative workshop just a week or so later,  where the team generated over 20 creatively-driven springboard platforms for growth.

Nobody had really anticipated just how adventurous some of the concepts were going to get. So, the next task was to evolve the thinking, to optimise the connections between the observed trends and the core product category, in preparation for quant concept filtering

So, if you feel you and your team may be in need of a little inspiration, why not let us know?  London’s a great place to explore the streets and stretch you mind.  So is New York.  But why not Barcelona, Paris or San Francisco?  All you need are some comfy shoes, imagination … and the right team to analyse what you see and help turn it into inspiring springboards for ideation.  Come on, give us a call!


Kerry’s Charleville Snackfuls win Great Taste award
21 Oct 2016

Kerry’s Charleville Snackfuls win Great Taste award

It’s very exciting to see that our friends at Kerry Foods Ireland have won a well deserved Great Taste award for their Charleville Snackfuls real cheese, cracker & chutney snacks.

It’s been great to play a small part in the ‘revitalisation’ and ‘stretch’ of Charleville, Ireland’s favourite cheese.

Great product idea, great execution, great comms … and great to see it being so successful!