Skilling up for innovation success: The Rapid Innovation Program
The terms ‘collaboration’ and ‘innovation’ are watchwords for success in the current business environment. But how does a business actually successfully innovate, and where do you start to establish a productive and financially beneficial collaborative partnership?
The Rapid Innovation Program was developed to provide South Australian food and beverage businesses with a framework and skills to understand and assess opportunities for innovation across all areas of their business.
One of the most valued results from participating in the Rapid Innovation Program was the realisation that many of the challenges faced are the same for a lot of businesses, regardless of their size. This led to a cluster of 20 of the participating food and beverage businesses meeting throughout the program to learn together and share information in areas such as packaging and manufacturing efficiencies. The workshop sessions also enabled more experienced businesses to share what they had learned with newer industry colleagues, and specialist service providers were brought into the group to share their expertise.
And that was just the beginning. We asked participants to explain how participating in the Rapid Innovation Program has helped them – here’s what they said.
Who, what, how
The Rapid Innovation Program was presented over an eight month period, designed to support participants through initial training and then, most importantly, real life application of their new skills and knowledge. The range of participants was diverse, representing more than 10 food product categories, and both new and established businesses with an annual turnover ranging from less than $2m up to $50m.
The program included a total of six sessions designed around the business needs of the group.
The first session was presented by innovation best practice experts Susie White and Susan Spanitz, drawing on their extensive experience in successful innovation for some of the highest profile businesses in Australian and global markets. The first instruction session introduced a range of practical and creative tools for the evaluation of innovation across 10 areas of business operations, including profit models, networks, structure, processes, services, channels, branding, customer engagement, product performance and production systems.
A second session guided participants through the theoretical and practical application of marketing principles for innovation in branding, product positioning, customer engagement, and market channels to create business value. This session was led by Michael Neale of marketing consultancy Literally Brilliant Pty Ltd.
The third session provided participants with tools and practical templates focusing on new product development using a ‘stage gate’ process, and session four focused on global trends and innovation in food and beverage packaging. The participating companies also explored efficiencies in manufacturing, including a rare opportunity to tour a local world-class production facility.
This program was developed and presented with funding support from Primary Industries and Regions SA and Food Innovation Australia Limited.