Innovation is (Always) a Team Sport

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From our more than 30 years combined experience, we have five insights to help position food innovators and food investors for success.

start by addressing an unmet need.

Each word is equally important. There must be a consumer, market, or customer need, and it must be unmet. Your offer must be unique to be successful. Maybe your uniqueness is a feature — some way your offer is faster, better, or cheaper than the others. Be certain to offer something that is needed and unique.

Think about B2B.

The compelling unmet need could be an ingredient or a process, not a consumer product. To advance sustainability in the food ecosystem there’s uncharted territory outside of consumer products that need innovation. Look at the full ecosystem to find where your offer might add value.

Lean on those who know.

Start-ups often lean on industry veterans who understand the market, scale-up, and supply chain. As such, the entrepreneur can stay focused on the big idea that started the venture. These same start-ups should look at investors who bring more than cash so they can leverage the investor as a partner. Start-ups want to add value to the investor’s portfolio while the investor brings experience to the new venture. For investors, look for partners who can vet technologies and approaches that are new to your portfolio. We help our investor clients sort out what’s promised technology and what’s proven. This leads to more informed and confident investment decisions.

You can’t improve the planet if you go out of business

If you aren’t attractive to investors assess the feasibility and viability of a company like yours, perhaps your offering isn’t ready for prime time or is in a crowded market and not unique. Is public funding your chosen route? Make sure you share in your pitch a realistic view of your feasibility and viability. Explain clearly how the product could be made or how the process can work. And include viable paths to financial growth to round out your terrific pitch on the global benefits of your idea.

Food innovation is a team sport. 

Nobody knows everything about ingredients, processes, products, packaging, and markets. Figure out what you know and add to your team people who know what you don’t. Even in large companies where there’s terrific technical knowledge across the organization, you’ll find that moving into new technologies needs additional partners on the team to cover what you don’t know.

For the food innovators we work with, we are part of their team that helps drive innovation and invest wisely. Innovation is and has always been a team sport.

Are you looking for seasoned team members for your next innovation? Contact us.

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