Using Co-Creation for Innovation: IFT Conference

by Heather

Using Co-Creation for Innovation: IFT Conference

Earlier this month, InsightsNow had a chance to participate and attend the annual IFT FIRST conference. Our CEO Dave Lundahl and our CRO Greg Stucky spoke on a variety of topics at the conference. It was great to be back in-person and see colleagues and friends, old and new. 

Food Innovation for Stakeholder Value

One topic Greg spoke on was food innovation, both in an IFT on-demand talk called “Targeting Sustainable Food Innovation for Stakeholder Value” and in a live panel discussion building on this talk based on the question “What are recent advancements in sensory science that will lead to new products or methodologies?” Let’s take a closer look at his talk, and what it means for food innovation.

Using Co-Creation for Innovation 

What is co-creation? Co-creation is an iterative and collaborative approach to building new product ideas and concepts which usually combines qualitative discussions and quantitative knowledge. Insights from this process are provided to developers to refine a product concept and jump start prototype development. It speeds bringing the right products to market for the greatest success. Key to this process is getting key stakeholders involved from the get-go.

Incorporating co-creation methods improves the innovation process by bringing more voices earlier—which is especially helpful when focusing on new innovations or when incorporating key corporate initiatives like sustainability.

Communication Innovation Problem

In his talk, Greg digs deeper into why to involve more people by pointing out some short-comings that happen when companies don’t co-create or do market research with just consumers. Doing consumer-only research leads to a communication problem where key problems are not solved quickly and key insights and business guardrails are not incorporated quickly.

Three Ways to Improve the Co-Creation Research Process

Greg goes through three things to consider during the research process—and what can be achieved through more voices in the process.

  1. Understanding the business goals and consumer goals in tandem
  2. Expand the people you talk to
  3. Change how you focus the discussions and activities

Expanding for Better Innovation

Expansion to involve more key stakeholders early in the process helps companies understand business and consumer goals in tandem. This means you change from only creating and innovating with target consumers, and transform to involve other parties like employees, regulators, suppliers, investors and subject matter experts along with the consumers. This brings different perspectives to the process earlier, involving more people in the market research, and uncovering fresh thinking. You gain the right insights to help your products find the right ways forward—and the right ways to incorporate key business objectives into products’ development and innovation. 

By expanding the co-creation process to be more inclusive, companies find not only new solutions but more energy and passion to help develop the creative and innovative products that will drive business goals forward.