Hungry for new perspectives on innovation? I certainly am as Prepared Foods readies its 35th annual New Products Conference this September in Denver. Last year, we focused on “disruptive innovation.” This year, we want to help innovation executives navigate market trends and “Unleash Opportunity, Unlock Creativity and Transform Industry” with change from within.
April’s news media certainly gave me perspectives on innovation from A to Z—or, at least, from A (Amazon) to T (Toshiba). Mid-April found USA Today chronicling the fortunes (or misfortunes) of Toshiba, the Japanese electronics giant. In contrast, USA Today came back two days later with a Money page profile of Amazon and its founder and CEO Jeff Bezos.
In the first article, a 142-year-old Toshiba expressed “substantial doubt” about its ability to continue as a “going concern” and said it faces a projected $9.2 billion loss for the fiscal year. Observers point to Toshiba’s inability to develop next-generation products and keep pace with speed to market. Likewise, Toshiba bet big—and lost—on a separate growth platform of nuclear energy.
What most caught my eye was USA Today’s lead page profile photo of President and CEO Satoshi Tsunakawa at a news conference. Projected on the wall behind him was company’s corporate logo, which reads, “Toshiba: Leading Innovation.”
The second news piece covered Bezos’ 2016 Letter to Shareholders, which articulates focus on a “Day 1” start-up mentality where all strategy and activity are driven by “customer obsession, a skeptical view of proxies, the eager adoption of external trends, and high-velocity decision making.”
Bezos notes, “Day 2 is stasis. Followed by irrelevance. Followed by excruciating, painful decline. Followed by death. And that is why it is always Day 1.”
Bezos goes on to support each his Day 1 objectives. They include the determination to make fast, quality decisions, which often can be done when about “70% of the information you wish you had” is available. Bezos believes waiting for 90% means going too slow. He also adheres to a policy of “disagree and commit” as a way to save time. Teams don’t have to persuade him to take a particular route, they just have to convince him enough that he’s willing to take the gamble.
“Day 2 companies make high-quality decisions, but they make high-quality decisions slowly,” he writes. “To keep the energy and dynamism of Day 1, you have to somehow make high-quality, high-velocity decisions. Easy for start-ups and very challenging for large organizations. The senior team at Amazon is determined to keep our decision-making velocity high. Speed matters in business—plus a high-velocity decision making environment is more fun too.”
Bezos’ comments certainly have my pulse (and brain) racing—and now I can’t wait to get out from behind the computer to share ideas with you at our New Products Conference. Visit www.newproductsconference.com throughout this summer for updates on what already is shaping up to be a ground-breaking program.
New Products Conference: 2017 Feature Presentations*
• Colorado Market Tour: What’s New, What’s Next in Clean Label, Healthy Foods?
• Live Panel: Processor, Retailer, Mealkit Specialist and Mass Merchandiser Discuss What’s Next in Home Food Delivery!
• Revitalize R&D Process, Speed to Market: Doug Hall, Eureka Ranch
• Build New Brands, New Categories: Errol Schweizer, Co-Founder of BeyondBrands, owner of Errol Schweizer LLC and Whole Foods former executive global grocery coordinator
*Visit www.newproductsconference.com for more program details