Consumer Goods Growth & Innovation Forum 2007

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Consumer Goods Growth & Innovation Forum 2007

By Alliston Ackerman - 11/01/2007
On September 24-26, more than 80 senior-level consumer goods executives gathered at The Four Seasons in Miami, Fla., for the second annual Consumer Goods Growth & Innovation Forum.There, they explored how innovation has emerged as the new roadmap to business excellence through abundant networking opportunities and insightful peer presentations. Here is snapshot of some of the event's many highlights:
 
  • In an opening keynote presentation,Jeff Weedman,VP External Business Development, The Procter & Gamble Company (P&G), explained his company's shift from a culture of "not invented here" to "proudly found elsewhere." Open innovation at P&G -- coined "Connect + Develop" -- has increased sales and profit, and re-energized P&G to close a deal with an external partner every other day on average.
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  • Whirlpool Corporation's VP of Global Product Development Henry O. Marcy, Ph.D. provided attendees with a retrospective on Whirlpool's innovation journey. The company is taking steps to break out of the "sea of white" and build brand loyalty by delivering innovations that provide meaningful customer benefits, have market sustainability over time and produce better returns for shareholders.
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  • David McNair, chief science and technology officer for Cadbury Schweppes (which is in the process of demerging its $6 billion beverage business), discussed how the company revitalized its innovation strategy, increasing its investment in science and technology by 50 percent over the last three years.
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  • Hal Carper, SVP Research & Development,Tyson Foods Inc., explained the benefits of Tyson's new Discovery Center, a 100,000-square-foot research and development facility designed to enhance the company's ability to create new foods and bring them to market more quickly.
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  • The audience was in stitches listening to Charles E. "Gus"Whalen, Jr. tell the story of evolution through crisis of The Warren Featherbone Company, which has been active in manufacturing, agriculture, banking and philanthropy since 1883. Innovation has been the defining characteristic of the company over the years.
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  • Organized internal communication is important in making the innovation process swift and effectiveat anygiven company.In a panel discussion,moderated by Cheryl Perkins, president of Innovation Edge LLC, three consumer goods executives from different internal departments -- Rick Bayney, VP Portfolio Planning, Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Services; Kim Feil, SVP and CMO, Sara Lee Corporation; and Kathy Sattler, innovation manager, Anheuser-Busch Inc. -- explained their respective roles in bringing new products to market.
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    INNOVATION AWARDS
    As is tradition, CGT -- with input from its Research Advisory Board and Editorial Advisory Board -- presented awards to deserving consumer goods companies that continually drive growth through innovation. And the winners are:
     
    Most Innovative Product: BAND-AID Activ-Flex Blister Block from Johnson & Johnson. (Outstanding Achievement awards were also presented to Energizer Energi To Go and PUR Flavor Options from The Procter & Gamble Company.)
     
    Most Innovative Company: Crayola. (Outstanding Achievement awards were also presented to Kellogg Company and Tyson Foods Inc.)
     
    Read the December issue of CGT for complete coverage of our Innovation and Technology award winners.