Let's talk innovation  
Topic: Let's talk innovation Posted by: Annie Kramer on 9/21/2017

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I'm sure you've heard of 3M's "30 percent rule" or Google's "20 percent time"—it refers to the amount of time these companies encourage their employees to think creatively. In an industry like dairy, even 10 percent on most days seems like it would be tough to set aside to focus on things outside of your job role.


And while time is a barrier to thinking creatively, an innovation program can also cause more harm than good: 


The Tidal Wave of Unfiltered Ideas 

Too many ideas can lead to a lack of focus and a lack of action. The innovation team is here to ensure we have a structure in place to consolidate ideas, and get the right stuff to the right people.


Build the Wall

While it's important to have a process around an innovation program, it's also important not to overcomplicate the process. Time consuming paperwork and processes to have your ideas heard hurts more than helps—which is why we created the Make it Better platform.


So, what does it take to be successful?

  • An innovation process and pipeline
  • Prioritization
  • Solution exploration
  • The ability to be disruptive


Good news for DFA?

We're working on it. Keep an eye out for information about Ignite as we continue to grow and improve the program.


Click here for a more detailed article on this topic.


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"It's OK to be wrong, it's OK to make mistakes — it's OK to fail," according to Amazon's vice president for global innovation policy and communications, Paul Misener.


And he's not wrong. No one is 100 percent successful but successful people know the right way to fail.


Seems like a bit of an oxymoron—the right way to fail—but its not. As long as you are able to recognize your mistake and learn from it, it can hardly be counted as a failure. Yes, you may lose some money or time, but you gain value in the form of knowledge to make up for it.


"At Amazon, we have a lot of experience with failure. We have failed many times — some very public, colossal ones, some private. But we are failing and we will continue to fail. Many times we will fail going forward, I'm confident of that." says Misener.


Read more about Amazon's approach to innovation—there were plenty of ups and downs along the way.

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In a lot of situations, people see innovation solely as ideas when in reality innovation comes from those ideas that are put into action to create value. 


Value means different things to different companies, and Kevin Hagino, senior regional brand manager, Southeast Asia, LEGO, said it well when he stated "Innovation is like a Ferrari – it’s cool and fast, but also has the capacity to write you off completely. The main pitfall is doing something because it’s new and shiny, rather than because it's fundamentally anchored in its business or brand."


So many people think of innovation as a huge win—when usually that's not the case. Innovation comes in all shapes and sizes. Yes, it can be the next Amazon but it can also be a small improvement on the plant floor that makes the operation more efficient or saves money for the organization.


Ideas can be big or small or anywhere along that spectrum. Either way we are still providing value to our farmer-owners and the Cooperative.


For perspectives like this and more, check out this article by the Telegraph.

The Secret Sauce of Creativity | TEDxRegina
Our approach to innovation is dead wrong | Diana Kander | TEDxKC