By making use of specialist online crowd sourcing specialists to connect brands with ‘creatives’, food manufacturers such as Nestlé, General Mills, Kellogg, Coca-Cola, Pepsico, Danone, Red Bull and Budweiser are gathering ideas from around the globe.
Ideas collected are then analysed by the innovation partners before proceeding through development funnels to ensure greater chances of success when new products are launched onto the market.
Speaking at a new product development conference in London last month organised by the Food and Drink Innovation Network, Yannig Roth a ‘co-creation’ expert with crowd sourcing specialist Eyeka based in Paris, described work with big brand owners to develop tomorrow’s products. “It’s all about innovating with people, not for them,” he said.
Speaking at the same event, Kantar Worldpanel director Giles Quick said: “True innovation is about identifying a problem and solving it … Much innovation is constrained by what already exists: it’s just more of the same.”
Specifically, companies such as Wrigley and Heineken have been using crowd sourcing competitions to generate ideas and get the engagement of audiences in markets as diverse as China and India. “The number of competitions is increasing,” said Roth. While the fastest growth was in video competitions, these were closely followed by ideas generation and design contests, he added.
Examples of competitions cited by Roth included one in which Coca-Cola Germany ran a online design award for young creative individuals to identify potentially new concept ideas for the reusable bottle crate of the future. “They received a huge number of designs,” said Roth.
For the Asia-pacific region, Coca-Cola ran another competition for brand content creation called ‘Energizing Refreshment’. With the help of a $65,000 prize as a big incentive, this attracted around 2,500 entries, said Roth.
In another example, Nescafé in Australia ran a campaign to “reinvent instant coffee”, which attracted ideas from 20 countries and provided insights to inspire the company’s research and development and marketing teams. It identified about six trends, which it subsequently tested out in local markets, including in the UK and Japan.
Roth recognised that crowd sourcing was not the answer to all innovation problems. “It does not work for everyone or every single problem and it does have a price,” he noted. Failures usually occurred where companies failed to communicate properly, he added.