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What’s the story on the innovation strategy for beer?

The Kansas City American Marketing Association monthly lunch addressed that question. Former Vice President of Innovation at Anheuser-Busch, Pat McGauley, shared stories of his past twelve years creating the company’s innovation team.

Rather than playback the various innovation strategy stories Pat McGauley shared, here is a sampling of quotes and points he made that stood out as great thought starters:

Not all innovation strategy inside a company is created equal.

Pat’s innovation team was responsible for product and packaging innovation. He reported that packaging innovation was more difficult to develop than liquid innovation. Based on comments he made regarding working with retailers on in-store shelving, product innovation may have been easier because it might lead to a fight for shelf space. Packaging innovation, on the other hand, could require making the case for a different shelf entirely.

Not all innovation teams are created equal.

Pat formed two innovation teams. One focused on near-term innovation strategy and the other on filling the three-to-five-year innovation pipeline. While the two team approach was designed to keep the longer-term team from getting pulled into today’s fires, it presented challenges. The long-term innovation strategy team became too disconnected from current activities shaping the future environment its innovations would face. Both teams, however, were detached from the brand teams to minimize the pull toward shorter-term brand priorities.

Innovation-Strategy-Checkli

“If you have a whole room that thinks the same, you don’t need all those people.”

He was speaking to the choir about the need for diverse participation and varied inputs to trigger ideas. Their global innovation team went to Korea in 2015 to look for inspiration.

How you frame the question shapes the innovation strategy opportunity.

On a market segmentation chart, Pat was making the point that there are multiple ways to grow from innovation. Sometimes it’s grabbing share from competitors in your category. In other situations, it’s grabbing share from substitutes for your category. The chart drew the distinction between these “share of beer” and  “share of throat” opportunities. That’s an intriguing categorization you could apply to many businesses to point innovation opportunities in different directions.

“Sometimes a company needs something that the consumers don’t need.”

In covering a few  innovation failures, Pat talked about Anheuser World Select. As he put it, “Anheuser-Busch needed an import beer, so we created a fake import.” The company had become enamored with trying to solve the problem of not having an import, but consumers had access to import beers. They didn’t need an inauthentic version from Anheuser-Busch.

“Renovation is putting new coats of paint on big brands.”

Pat credited InBev (which merged with Anheuser-Busch in 2008) with introducing the idea of renovation to the organization. The innovation team spent 15% of its time on core brand renovation to enhance competitiveness.

3-Innovation-Strategy-Tiers

A leading company shunning innovation is “like someone hugging a block of ice.”

You can hang on to a block of ice (representing a core capability) and refuse to move away from it, but eventually the block of ice is going to melt and disappear. Pat pointed to Jeff Bezos as a CEO with a contrasting perspective. He is always on the lookout to disrupt Amazon before the next Amazon does it.

Lackluster innovators can catch up quickly.

One chart depicted (I think) growth factors in the beer market from 2012 to 2014. In 2012, competitor innovation accounted for just 5% of growth in the beer market; Anheuser-Busch was the overwhelming leader in innovation-driven growth. By 2014, competitor innovation represented 35% of beer industry growth. – Mike Brown

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ebook-cover-redoBoost Your Creativity with “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation”

Download our FREE “Taking the No Out of InNOvation eBook to help  generate extreme creativity and ideas! For organizational innovation success, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative growth strategies. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

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Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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You know, this week doesn’t have to be as unproductive as last week, what with business meetings going nowhere along with wasting time, positive energy, and any hope of creativity.

The thing is, there’s a different way to structure business meetings to help a group come together and collaborate in an innovative, productive way.

We create these types of radically different (and beneficial) business meetings for clients, in large part, by bringing together the right people in the right settings with the right structure to allow them to be productive and successful participants.

If you’re up for abruptly halting the cluster f%@k of the modern business meetings you attend, contact The Brainzooming Group? We’ll figure out how to turn insights, ideas, and initiatives into realities that actually move your business ahead!

Brainzooming-Not-Cluster

 

 

 

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10 Lessons for Engaging Your Employees to Create Stronger Results

FREE Download: “Results!!! Creating Strategic Impact”

Results!!! Creating Strategic Impact Mini-Book

Senior executives are looking for employees who are strong collaborators and communicators while being creative and flexible. In short they need strategic thinkers who can develop strategy and turn it into results.

This new Brainzooming mini-book, “Results – Creating Strategic Impact” unveils ten proven lessons for senior executives to increase strategic collaboration, employee engagement, and grow revenues for their organizations.

Download this free, action-focused mini-book to:

  • Learn smart ways to separate strategic opportunities from the daily noise of business
  • Increase focus for your team with productive strategy questions everyone can use
  • Actively engage more employees in strategy AND implementation success

Download Your FREE  Results!!! Creating Strategic Impact Mini-book

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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I saw a Little Caesars TV ad extolling the benefits of the brand’s pizza dough remaining unchanged over time. Perhaps the TV ad is a delayed reaction to a Domino’s TV ad several years earlier about innovating because it finally listened to customers saying how bad Domino’s was.

The Little Caesars TV ad shows one employee questioning another about making pizza dough from scratch every day for fifty years without ever changing.  The veteran employee explains the instruction to make pizza dough by hand daily is laminated, and “lamination is forever.”

It’s a mildly humorous ad.

It’s a significant point though when it comes to the barriers to innovation many organizations erect.

While you may not have your organization’s barriers to innovation laminated and on display everywhere, there are likely other phrases, labels, and activities suggesting particular practices are “forever.” Since they AREN’T laminated, they may be easy to miss.

30 Barriers to Innovation (other than Lamination)

Little-Caesar3

What should you be looking out for with less obvious barriers to innovation? They could be hiding as things talked about or understood to be:

  1. Anything that has stood the test of time
  2. Anything with a proven track record
  3. Assets everyone is trying to leverage
  4. Assumptions about the marketplace that everyone understands
  5. Behaviors that are safe and comfortable within the organization
  6. Capabilities or products central to success
  7. CEO-endorsed initiatives
  8. Challenging discussions that are off the table
  9. Core capabilities or assets
  10. Corporate traditions
  11. Expectations everyone understands need to be met
  12. Foundational aspects of the brand that took hold without much forethought
  13. Ideas someone has struggled to sell-in so no one wants to change anything and re-sell them
  14. Known entities
  15. Long-standing policies
  16. Off-limits topics and conversations
  17. Priorities that go unexamined or unchanged
  18. Programs considered familiar and safe
  19. Programs that are routinely funded with few questions
  20. Programs where leadership is solidly on-board
  21. Questions that have been decided, and everyone is expected to “move on”
  22. Slam dunks
  23. Something that’s clearly considered out-of-bounds
  24. Something strongly aligned with senior management expectations
  25. Successful programs that nobody would dare tweak
  26. Sure things
  27. Things no one questions
  28. Things that are easy to accomplish
  29. Top-down directives
  30. Well-respected people and programs

You see, not all barriers to innovation involve lamination as the main way to say something is “forever.” There are all kinds of ways to make it clear that something in your organization is set aside, protected, or untouchable.

Maybe some of them DO need to be forever. A lot of them, however, are probably ripe for change.  – Mike Brown

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Looking for Ways to Develop a Successful
Innovation Strategy to Grow Your Business?
Brainzooming Has an Answer!

Brainzooming Outside-In Innovation Strategic Thinking Tools eBookBusiness growth can depend on introducing new products and services that resonate more strongly with customers and deliver outstanding value.

Are you prepared to take better advantage of your brand’s customer and market insights to generate innovative product ideas? The right combination of outside perspectives and productive strategic thinking exercises enables your brand to ideate, prioritize, and propel innovative growth.

Download this free, concise eBook to:

  • Identify your organization’s innovation profile
  • Rapidly deploy effective strategic thinking exercises to spur innovation
  • Incorporate market-based perspectives into your innovation strategy in successful ways

Download this FREE eBook to turn ideas into actionable innovation strategies to drive your organization’s comeback!





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Be on the lookout and step up to be the one trying to push past all those barriers to innovation and do new and better things.

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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Sometimes creative thinking challenges come from inside your own head. In many organizations, however, substantial creative thinking challenges come from leaders and cultures that may say they want new thinking, but seem to do everything they can to scuttle creativity.

Thanks-For-Idea-Mgmt-Team

Do you work in one of those types of organizations that says one thing and supports another where creativity is concerned? If so, this Brainzooming compilation on various ways to combat creative thinking challenges is for you.

Organizational Creative Thinking Challenges

Individuals Posing Creative Thinking Challenges

Cultivating Personal Creative Thinking Skills

Mike Brown

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the free Brainzooming blog email updates.

 

10 Lessons for Engaging Your Employees to Create Stronger Results

FREE Download: “Results!!! Creating Strategic Impact”

Results!!! Creating Strategic Impact Mini-Book

Senior executives are looking for employees who are strong collaborators and communicators while being creative and flexible. In short they need strategic thinkers who can develop strategy and turn it into results.

This new Brainzooming mini-book, “Results – Creating Strategic Impact” unveils ten proven lessons for senior executives to increase strategic collaboration, employee engagement, and grow revenues for their organizations.

Download this free, action-focused mini-book to:

  • Learn smart ways to separate strategic opportunities from the daily noise of business
  • Increase focus for your team with productive strategy questions everyone can use
  • Actively engage more employees in strategy AND implementation success

Download Your FREE  Results!!! Creating Strategic Impact Mini-book

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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We’re developing a strategic thinking webinar for a client on cultivating and sustaining creativity among its salesforce. Since the webinar is with the organization’s sales leadership, the focus is on creative thinking skills they can and should be embracing to help their salespeople see opportunities in new ways.

Part of the creative thinking skills content will come via our Idea Magnets material. It’s focused on what successful creative leaders do to cultivate ideas both on their own and within their teams.

One specific comment during a talk with the client upfront focused on how to get salespeople thinking creatively bigger and differently on a daily basis. That discussion got me thinking about how the Brainzooming approach on extreme creativity and fostering creative thinking skills came to be.

team-creative-thinking-skills

Giving “One” for Team Creativity

Maybe more specifically, it got me thinking about how I had had to change my own approach to business to keep up when I started working for an incredibly creative, dynamic strategic mentor, Greg Reid, at YRC Worldwide.

Greg came to our business-to-business transportation and logistics company with a completely different sensibility than anyone else there. He operated faster; he operated slower. He thought bigger, and he thought about minute details no one would ever notice. He would challenge people beyond the point where anyone on his team was left standing behind him for support. He’d make us think through everything we were going to do then throw it out and improvise because something changed, and he saw tremendous potential success in doing something completely unexpected. He was often not on time, but he was never late.

Above all, for those that were up to the pace and eager to learn new creative thinking skills, it was an incredible experience to work with him.

10 Ideas for Stimulating Extreme Team Creativity

When thinking about how a leader cultivates team creativity, I’ll share this list of healthy ways to stretch a team to the point where it CAN’T do things the same old way and still be successful.

Want to stretch your team to grow its creative thinking skills?

Try:

  • Selecting multiple goals.
  • Taking on more than it seems you can finish.
  • Dramatically accelerating timelines.
  • Creating new rules.
  • Holding incredibly high, unwavering performance standards.
  • Taking so much time to think about things that it seems you’ll never start and get finished.
  • Going higher in the organization whenever a client or partner tells you, “No.”
  • Never letting a gatekeeper stop you.
  • When negotiating, always asking for more.
  • Expecting to do consistently do something that is “scary” different.

Pick a few of these items (or even all of them) off the list and start running your team with these expectations. You’ll find out who the successful creative thinkers are RIGHT AWAY! – Mike Brown

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the free Brainzooming blog email updates.

 

ebook-cover-redoBoost Your Creativity with “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation”

Download our FREE “Taking the No Out of InNOvation eBook to help  generate extreme creativity and ideas! For organizational innovation success, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative growth strategies. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

Download Your Free

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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Walking in on the Kansas City Chiefs – Oakland Raiders game broadcast Sunday on FOX, the announcers were discussing the Chiefs defensive scheme. They reported the team’s defensive coordinator, Bob Sutton, told them that when planning competitive strategy, “I want to stay out of ‘never’ and ‘always.’”

Competitive-Strategy-Chiefs

What fantastic competitive strategy advice to incorporate this time of year as you implement new strategies.

While most brands want a consistent, always the same brand experience for customers, you don’t want to fall into familiar patterns with competitive strategy. When it comes to competitive strategy, you definitely want to take advantage of the power of surprise whenever and wherever possible.

Who Sees Predictable Competitive Strategy Moves?

Here’s the big strategic thinking question: Who can best shed light on when your brand is defaulting to “never and always” in your competitive strategy?

Your marketing and brand managers MAY be able to point out places where THEY have gone to the same old, same old in their strategic planning and implementation. Chances are, however, they aren’t going to be quick to come to the table and point out where they aren’t doing everything they should to grow the brand.

Alternatively, look to these sources:

  • Your market research and data people – Do you have predictable patterns that show up in the data, whether it’s in market research data or other data sources that reflect market activity? Dive in to see what you can see happening over and over.
  • Savvy, trusted customers – Every brand has customers that are brand fans with a keen appreciation of the broad marketplace and what each competitor is doing. Reach out to these customers for your brand. Ask them what they have to say about your “never and always” patterns.

Competitive Strategy – 7 Ways to Avoid “Never and Always”

Once you’ve got as good a handle as possible on your predictable competitor strategy moves, then it’s time to introduce competitive surprises. They could include:

  1. Doing something that’s opposite of what you always do
  2. Doing something you’ve never done before
  3. Randomly varying a pattern you always follow
  4. Doing way more or way less of things you can’t stop doing, but can change the intensity
  5. Putting together two things you haven’t done together before
  6. Using channel partners in new and different ways
  7. Changing aspects of the marketing mix that are on autopilot for new product launches

Start there and see what else you can do to turn back from a competitive strategy that needlessly depends on “never and always.”  – Mike Brown

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the free Brainzooming blog email updates.

Looking for Ways to Develop a Successful
Innovation Strategy to Grow Your Business?
Brainzooming Has an Answer!

Brainzooming Outside-In Innovation Strategic Thinking Tools eBookBusiness growth can depend on introducing new products and services that resonate more strongly with customers and deliver outstanding value.

Are you prepared to take better advantage of your brand’s customer and market insights to generate innovative product ideas? The right combination of outside perspectives and productive strategic thinking exercises enables your brand to ideate, prioritize, and propel innovative growth.

Download this free, concise eBook to:

  • Identify your organization’s innovation profile
  • Rapidly deploy effective strategic thinking exercises to spur innovation
  • Incorporate market-based perspectives into your innovation strategy in successful ways

Download this FREE eBook to turn ideas into actionable innovation strategies to drive your organization’s comeback!





Download Your Free  Outside-In Innovation Strategic Thinking Fake Book




Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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What innovative ideas are you looking to imagine and implement in the coming year?

Brainzooming-Greeting

Was a little orange box of innovative ideas under your tree?

Here’s a Christmas wish from your friends at The Brainzooming Group: We hope Santa left a little orange box under your tree that’s full of incredible innovative ideas, all of them leading to great success!

Just in case Santa didn’t deliver, remember The Brainzooming Group is available for your organization throughout the year to help envision innovative ideas. We will also collaborate with you to turn them into reality with smart strategies and solid implementation plans. Along the way, your team will learn actionable creative thinking skills and dynamic strategy exercises that will serve them and your organization for years to come.

And all it takes is a little orange Brainzooming box to get started!

In the meantime, Merry Christmas, enjoy the holidays, and let’s all celebrate a new year full of incredible possibilities!

Your Friends at The Brainzooming Group

 

 

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Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
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