The factory floor: seedbed of innovation
In the past few years Happen has helped a number of major companies get successful innovations to market faster, with lower capex. How? By turning the usual innovation methods on their head, and looking at the challenge in a brand new way.
The first stop on the journey is somewhere that most marketing and innovation experts rarely go: the factory floor.
We believe factories are crucial because companies need to consider their production assets from the very beginning of the innovation process. The key is to identify low-cost changes that will enable you to take a brand somewhere new.
Although truly transformative innovations will always necessitate significant investments in new equipment, smaller innovations have to be achieved within the technical limits of what you can already do. These smaller innovations may never be as sexy as the big breakthroughs, but in reality, businesses need a lot of a little as well as a little of a lot.
To identify these small tweaks that could make a big difference, Happen uses an innovation framework called Asset-Out, which harnesses the innovation potential of your factories by identifying how to meet consumer demand with product features you can produce with little or no investment.
Asset-Out produces detailed breakdowns of commercially viable concepts based on the capabilities you already have, and its value has been proven with a number of successful launches.
For example, by adding a swirly core to Trident gum, a new brand was created: Trident Splash.
And for V6 gum, a minor tweak to the panning process and some technology borrowed from another plant created V6 Clean gum.
It’s all about looking at your production assets with a fresh pair of eyes.
Wilbur Strickland, who leads chocolate product development at food giant Mondelez, says: “Happen is really not afraid to roll up its sleeves and actually go visit factories. They spend time actually understanding what we’re able to do on our manufacturing lines, what products we’re able and not able to make, then out of that they have a keen appreciation for what might be possible off of these lines.”
If you want to unlock the amazing innovation potential that’s lying dormant in your business, grab your hairnet and ear defenders, and we’ll see you on the factory floor.