Wednesday, May 31, 2017

A Simple Process Leads to a Complex Outcome

By: Alexander Kornelsen

This post was originally published on

Large organisations are under fire to be more agile and opportunistic in their approach to innovation, adaptation, and disruption. FEI Europe 2017 helps to systematically tackle the innovation process - from ideation through execution - to ensure innovation teams are capturing immense opportunities. In our interview series in partnership with FEI Europe 2017, we show the best practices from global innovation leaders. 

At PepsiCo, beverages are developed in a new approach for breakthrough innovation. Everybody wants innovation to be simple, but whilst the end result may be very simple, getting there is anything but. At FEI Europe, Luke Mansfield will share new thinking on capability, process, tools and techniques and new ways to collaborate; and how orchestrating a combination of all of these enabled us to launch multiple new global brands.  

As partner of FEI Europe, Venture Idea had the opportunity to ask Luke Mansfield, Vice President, Innovation, Global Beverage Group at PepsiCo, some questions beforehand.

PepsiCo's current premium innovations 'Lemon Lemon' and IZZE 

Venture Idea: Hello Luke, please introduce yourself and tell us about your job at PepsiCo

Mansfield: I’m Luke and I lead Innovation at PepsiCo. In essence my team is focused on developing $Bn beverages platforms of tomorrow. 

Venture Idea: What are your current tasks and innovation challenges?

Mansfield: Our Innovation challenge is similar to everyone’s. That’s because we focus on the consumer. Whilst industries have their idiosyncrasies the consumer is the same. PepsiCo is an extraordinary company, but that can sometimes make Innovation harder. We’re incredibly efficient which means any Innovation by definition introduces inefficiencies. This is why we focus on premium Innovations. Great examples of this are our new platforms LifeWTR, IZZE and ‘Lemon Lemon’. Consumer tastes are changing fast and something which in the 90’s would have taken a decade to travel can now be a global trend within a year. We’ve had to learn to become a lot more nimble. 

Venture Idea: Tell us about your talk: You are going to present a new approach for “simpler" innovation. How does your innovation process look like?

Mansfield: It’s interesting that this is how you interpreted the title. It’s actually the opposite. In my experience, a simple process leads to a complex outcome. Only solving real business issues gets to simple outcomes. To launch a new product around the world our whole business needed to evolve. From supply chain to procurement, design, R&D and marketing: Everyone needed to find a new way to work. When I say simple, I mean simple for the consumer, not for us. We don’t compromise on the consumer experience which means a lot of complexity behind the scenes.

Venture Idea: Since the conference’s topic is “adapt & disrupt”. How do you manage to be disruptive while sticking to the company’s core business?

Mansfield: That’s a great question and it differs a lot by industry. During my time at Samsung it wasn’t a worry. We knew todays products would not be the same in 5 years so disruption is the DNA. At PepsiCo we have brands and products that people have enjoyed for 100 years. That doesn’t go away, and it’s a powerful base to innovate from. I’d like to flip the question though and look at another of our new launches, ‘Lemon Lemon’. It began life as a delicious natural forward lemonade under 7Up in Europe. Our ambition grew as we developed it and we decided 'Lemon Lemon' would be a lot more. It’s now a standalone new brand in the USA. The difference between disruption and something incremental is often defined more by our ambition for than anything intrinsic within the product.  

"Embrace resources, scale and influence as a competitive advantage" 

Venture Idea: What do you think will change in the near future when it comes to innovation?

Mansfield: I can tell you what I think should change. I hear a lot about how corporations must be more like entrepreneurs and I agree. On how we do this I often disagree. An average entrepreneur is resource constrained, focused and driven. They use resources judiciously and invest a lot of themselves into their work. Many large companies see scale as an impediment to innovation but I see it differently. If we gave that entrepreneur access to our resources, imagine what they would do. At PepsiCo that’s how we look at it. Embrace resources, scale and influence as a competitive advantage. 

A question I would ask anyone setting out on an Innovation journey is ‘do you love your products and brands enough?’ because if you don’t; why should anyone else? Also, how will you have the fortitude to push through the barriers you’ll inevitably face if it’s not passion that drives you? We love our brands and we love our products. I can’t countenance a future where they’re not part of the conversation. That’s what drives us to evolve and re-invent them for the next generation. 

Venture Idea: Thank you a lot for your insights and see you at the conference!

This interview is part of an interview series with speakers from the FEI Europe conference. The Front End Innovation Europe takes place in London as a part of the London Tech Week, from June 13 - 15. The conference covers the full innovation spectrum: Ideation, trends, culture, leadership, and strategy. Hear stories of success and failure from leading innovators from across the globe. Join to discuss how to successfully integrate innovation into business. As a collective, participants will break through traditional barriers and move towards actionable innovation. 

For more information or get your ticket and save 20% by using the VIP Code FEIEU17VENI, click here:

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