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Food For Thought – 10 Game Changing Innovation Tips From The Food Industry

Written by: Natalie Turner, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 
Executive Contributor Natalie Turner

There are many different models that can help us innovate and get better at driving our ideas into the world. I had the pleasure of interviewing Simon Allison – Retail Food Technologist and Sustainability and Innovation Manager of Perfectly Fresh, a vertical farming company – about the world of Food Product Development and how Stage Gate® product innovation can align with The Six 'I's®

A man in factory.

Watch the replay here.


We also explored the importance of PURPOSE; how influencing skills are some of the top innovation skills of our time and took a deep dive into sustainability as a key demand state driver of innovation.


Simon has been involved in product development and innovation in the food industry for over 25 years across many product and service categories, with UK brands such as Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury's, Innocent Drinks, Pret A Manger and Waitrose.

An illustration of a quote with a man.

10 Innovation tips from the food industry

  1. Embrace purpose: Make purpose the heart of your innovation journey. Define a clear North Star that aligns with your values and motivates your team to drive meaningful impact.

  2. Blend the Six 'I's® and Stage Gate®: Combine the power of the Six 'I's® Model with the Stage Gate® process to create a seamless and effective innovation framework. Emphasise the human side of innovation, including people skills, mindsets, and culture.

  3. Sustainability matters: Prioritise sustainability in your food innovation projects. Consider environmental impacts, consumer behaviour changes, and the potential to create eco-friendly products that align with your purpose.

  4. Leverage people's strengths: Recognise and harness the unique strengths of individuals and teams. Foster collaboration, where diverse perspectives come together to spark creative solutions.

  5. Embrace the art of influence: Master the skill of influencing throughout the innovation journey. Engage stakeholders, decision-makers, and team members to stay aligned and committed to the common goal.

  6. Embrace iteration and learning: Embrace the iterative nature of innovation. Emphasise learning and improvement, making use of failures and successes to drive continuous progress.

  7. Cultivate curiosity: Cultivate curiosity as a driving force behind your innovation efforts. Explore trends, patterns, and customer behaviours to uncover hidden opportunities.

  8. Create a safe space for ideas: Encourage open dialogue and idea-sharing within your team. Create a safe space where everyone's ideas are valued and respected.

  9. Think beyond the status quo: Challenge conventional thinking and be willing to take calculated risks. Embrace experimentation and bold ideas that could lead to ground-breaking innovations.

  10. Stay resilient and committed: Innovation can be challenging and unpredictable. Stay resilient, committed, and adaptable to overcome obstacles and seize new opportunities.

Stage gate and the six 'i's poster.

Watch the replay here.


Follow Natalie on LinkedIn, and visit her website for more info.

Brainz Magazine Natalie Turner
 

Natalie Turner, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Natalie is an experienced innovation specialist having spent over 25 years working as a corporate innovation director, a business consultant, and an entrepreneur. She has worked for and consulted with some of the world’s leading organisations including Cisco Systems, GSK, Edgewell, and the Singapore Government. The inventor of The Six ‘I’s® of Innovation and author of the Award-Winning Book, Yes, You Can Innovate, Natalie has made her passion for purpose and people-driven innovation practical as well as inspirational to elevate people’s thinking on not only what they can create, but how – the mind, skill sets and cultural environments – that make everyday innovation happen.

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