Merchandising Features / Packaging / Tactics
Thinking Inside the Box

A New Take on Innovation

"I" is for investigate. Pick a bunch of new thoughts and ideas about old and discontinued items that it might make sense to reintroduce. Investigate new product and promotional possibilities. Engage associates and find out what thoughts are percolating. Create a tool to gather from this vast hopper of creativity.

“N” is for new. Pick 10 “new” initiatives and assign teams to bring revolution to the table.

“N” is for never. Never discount any new idea without proper analysis. And never ignore lateral thinkers who might just be percolating the next big win.

“O” is for offers—offers to the customer, offers to the suppliers, offers to your own associates. What rewards do you have for your greater business community?

“V” is for value. What top 10 ideas for better value are you bringing to the customer in the next 12 months? Not just in the opening price point concept, but in terms of better quality, better functionality, better nutritional benefits, better shelf life, better service.

“A” is for attack. How many rocks do you pick up each month to see what lies underneath? Does a “clean as you go” mentality exist in your company culture? How many gremlins are you all attacking each month to make the business better? Change the paradigms. Challenge the norms. Check the processes and systems for simplification and better integrity.

“T” is for try. Trial is a word that should always be encouraged. Encourage a trial mentality in all areas of the business in a controlled fashion. It’s good to be safe. But being in a safe place also means staying in the dark behind locked doors.

“I” is for insist. Develop a mentality of everyone insisting on something important. The new idea, the new system that is not getting the right attention to implementation, the new supplier, the new package, the new approach to an old unsolved problem.

“O” is for opportunity management. This is the biggest of all. How do you decide on what can and what should not get into the pipeline of activity? This is where a really robust management discipline is needed. Every idea needs a sponsor, an in-depth proposal, a clearly defined brief of what the benefits are. Once all the due diligence is completed, and an opportunity is entered into the development system, then every stage and gate must be tracked in real time to expose progress and accountability. This is where you either win or lose.

“N” is for nothing. Nothing matters like innovation. Do you have an innovation pipeline in every department of your business?

We all talk innovation. The word means different things to different people. How it is integrated into your company culture is a crucial strategic discussion.

 Till next time! 

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Private Label Buyer.

Recent Articles by Tom Stephens

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

September 2014 New Food Products

This month's new food products include cane sugars, barbeque sauce, condiments in squeeze bottles, cinnamon snack seasoning, and jalapeno tzatziki, ice cream, herb toasts, corn puffs, instant coffee, coconut water, and a water enhancer.


Coming with a clear, comprehensive plan was the key to success for Longo Brothers Fruit Markets when the grocer decided to roll out a two-tier private label strategy, Jenny Longo and Robert Koss tell PLBuyer editor Chris Freeman in this podcast.

More Podcasts

Private Label Buyer Magazine

PLB September 2014 cover

September 2014

The September 2014 issue of Private Label Buyer includes a convenience channel update, as well as category insights on frozen store brand trends and health and beauty items. Check it out today!

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Private Label Segments

Which segment of private label will see the biggest growth over the next year?
View Results Poll Archive

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

PLB Marketplace


facebook_40px twitter_40px  youtube_40pxlinkedin_40pxgoogle+ icon 40px