3 Tips From an Innovation Expert on How to Start Up Your Food Business Idea
Alexander Runne has worked across the USA, UK, Asia and now Australia as a leader in the brand and innovation space. Alex has spent much of his innovation career driving new product pipelines and creating innovation processes for the world’s largest food companies including Pepsico, Kraft Australia, Coca Cola, and Mondelez APAC. Having gone from corporate leadership to packaging his own food business, Alex has an expansive toolkit of anecdotes and experiences to share.
Becoming a food entrepreneur and developing your product and brand can be one of the most pivotal moments in your working life. Whether you are looking for new strategies to innovate your current food business or wanting to move your food idea from business plan to market, the buzzword ‘innovative’ will no doubt be a driver of your development. So, what does it mean for your food business to be innovative, and what are the first steps in unlocking the power of innovation for your own enterprise?
Chief Strategy and Growth Leader, Alexander Runne defines innovation as “creating new value, or capturing value in a new way in the food space. This definition focuses on the practical, commercial value of innovation, rather than just the creative side. It means that innovation is as much in the eye of the beholder as it is in the eye of the creator.”
In order to establish a competitive edge for your food start-up idea or product, or develop breakthrough insights for improving your existing business, Alex has shared his three top tips for success:
Start with the Basics: The 5 Ps
To develop the foundation of your product or business, the best approach is to start with the tried-and-true basics:
Product - What am I making and what makes it unique?
Price - What does my product/service cost relative to alternatives and how profitable is it?
Place - Where/how will my product be sold?
Promotion - How will I inform/education my target market that my product exists?
People - How have I refined my intended target definition?
Think Big or Go Home
Contrary to the myth, innovation is not about being lucky and can be planned for. A good innovation process is a series of steps that helps one think expansively, then reductively, and ultimately guiding us to make decisions and move forward.
In the expansive stages of innovation, there are no dumb questions, no wrong thoughts, nothing that should go unconsidered. This is what “thinking big” means. In order to move on from the expansive, “dreamers” phase, we must follow with a reductive phase. This is where we make choices, limit variables, overlay real-world constraints and consider commercial objectives of the innovation.
“I think of innovation as a train on a track; one direction,
no going back, but wide-open space ahead.”
– Alex Runne.
Develop Inspirational Insights
There are three types of insights to focus on to give your innovation process a calculated edge:
- Market insights - For a quantitative, commercial understanding on the market you are seeking to compete in.
- User insights - To provide a mix of quantitative and qualitative insights into the person or business that you would like to purchase your product.
- Inspirational insights - The unique creativity you bring to the table which will set you apart from your competitors.
Market and user insights provide information you simply must have to innovate. However, when your competitors are working from the same insight base as you, it is likely they may beat you to the innovation or are working on some form of it already; especially if you’re in a well-established category.
This is where inspirational insights come in: They are the ‘light-bulb moments’ that help make your innovation unique, ownable and a product of commercial creativity. These are the ingredients to your secret sauce and your competitive edge to enable your idea the best chance of success.
If you are developing your food idea, or looking to transform your current business, these three tips will allow you to expand from calculated and creative insights to a space of innovation. All it takes to move forward from your ‘dreamer’ space is a solid foundation and following an innovation process for your idea to reach its full potential.
Learn more about innovation strategies for your food business with Alex Runne