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NPD shouldn’t be a hit and miss process, but a methodical drawing of inspiration from multiple industries: Inventours CEO

By Stephen DANIELLS , 19-Feb-2014
Last updated the 19-Feb-2014 at 16:19 GMT

NPD shouldn’t be a hit and miss process, but a methodical drawing of inspiration from multiple industries: Inventours CEO

New product development doesn’t have to be a random hit and miss exercise, but can be helped by 60 lines of thinking, says the CEO of Inventours and author of the new book Catalyzing Innovation.

Having observed the new product development process at a number of multinationals including General Foods, Nestle, J. Walter Thompson, PepsiCo, and Disney, Michelle Greenwald appreciates the deficiencies in many new product development processes. In order to better understand the innovation process, she has travelled all over the world and observed unique aspects that made products innovative and successful, from the smallest, simplest innovations, to tremendously complex new ideas.

The result is her 60 Lines of Thinking. She says that nearly everything she sees fits into these categories.

“Many of the greatest innovations have resulted from taking ideas from one category and applying them to totally different categories,” she explained, “like the waffle iron that inspired Nike’s Waffle Trainer sneaker, or the colored, glossy jelly bean coatings that inspired the Apple iMac computers, or hummingbird beaks that inspired Japan’s high speed trains.”

Greenwald told use that her goal with Inventours and the new book is to energize the thinking of global executives by giving them insights from successful practitioners in other fields. She will also share many of these insights as a speaker at FoodNavigator’s upcoming Food Vision 2014 event in Cannes on March 31 to April 2 (click here for full details ).

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Innovation

At Food Vision 2014, Greenwald will look at what makes the most innovative and successful products on the market so unique, and identify the focused lines of thinking that led to those breakthrough ideas.

She will also talk about select innovations that successfully grew the brands, and promote cross-pollination of thinking & illustrates how to benchmark other industries and companies, to help firms and entrepreneurs learn to do it more systematically themselves.

Inventours and Catalyzing Innovation were inspired by the approach to innovation of Ferran Adriá, the great Catalan chef, she said. “He combines great stimuli gathered from other industries around the world, with a methodical checklist of ways to vary how ingredients are prepared, processed, and combined, how and what equipment is used, and what ingredients the equipment and processes are applied to.

“Having worked in New Product Development for large multinationals for many years, where the process can involve random ideas surfacing in a hit or miss fashion, I thought it would be useful to provide firms with a more comprehensive way to develop or improve their products and services to better meet customer needs and capture their imaginations.”

There are two upcoming Inventours programs planned for June of this year, one in Barcelona and the other in Paris . The events gives attendees exclusive insider access to innovation thought leaders from the world of food, including The AliciaFoundation founded by Ferran Ariá, Givaudan (Chris Thoen, Sr. Vice President), Pernod Ricard (Alain Dufosse, Group Leader), Pierre Hermé Paris (Pierre Hermé himself), and Alain Ducasse Enterprises (Laurent Plantier, CEO), complimented by experts from the world of advertising, architecture, video games, fashion, and design.

Food Vision 2014

Michelle Greenwald, CEO of Inventours

Greenwald’s presentation at Food Vision 2014 will outline a methodology that allows vast inspiration to be drawn, not just from multiple industries, but from the worlds of art and science too, and then distilled down into innovations with the power to change your market and boost your business.

For more information and to register for Food Vision, please click here .Topics covered include an innovation world tour, a search beyond borders, exploiting every innovation opportunity from product to packaging, shape, size and color, and focusing innovative thinking on the achievement of business growth.

Catalyzing Innovation is available on iTunes.

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