Innovation has been in my blood working in consumer goods manufacturers since 1995. I’ve found innovation to be a rollercoaster, with lots of highs and a fair few lows. My first true innovation job was in 2003, and subsequently I’ve generated millions of pounds in new products for large multinationals such as Diageo and Muller, as well as a multitude of startups. Throughout my working life in innovation, I have an innovation failure rate that is well below the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) average, and in the last five years, my innovation failure rate has been zero percent. In 2010, after working in innovation in Japan for Diageo, I realised that innovation in CPG as a process was failing – irrespective of the size of the company or the budget available, innovation was always more likely to fail. Thus, I started on a journey to find a better way to innovate, researching and copying various different elements from other industries, culminating in a unique Agile Innovation approach that has the consumer absolutely at the heart of innovation. Based on my experience over the last 17 years, I want to demonstrate how our approach can work whether you have an innovation budget of millions or literally a few hundred pounds. I want to show you how innovation can still have all of the thrills of the rollercoaster with none of the current ills.
Contact details: Bill Harte
Ben Davies on his co-author, Bill Harte
Bill and I first encountered each other back in 2014, Bill as a prospective customer of my technology company, and we played ‘Agile’ and ‘Lean’ bingo in our first conversation over hipster coffee in the Northern Quarter in Manchester. It was the first time I’d met anyone else who had the same levels of enthusiasm and optimism about changing the world of product development within consumer goods through technology and data. Bill began to use our technology platform in genuinely leading-edge ways, helping to test and refine many of the principles that you will encounter in this book. Over the years we have continued to develop our thinking around Agile Innovation and its application within Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG), working together on numerous projects culminating in the co-creation of this book you are reading now. Trying to build a movement within what can be quite a traditional sector is so much more achievable when you have a co-conspirator, and Bill is firmly that guy. His unwavering belief in what we are doing continues to inspire and energise me to carry on spreading the word alongside him.Ben Davies