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Food Industry Design, Technology and Innovation

Helmut Traitler, Birgit Coleman, Karen Hofmann

ISBN: 978-1-118-73326-4 November 2014 Wiley-Blackwell 312 Pages


Food products have always been designed, but usually not consciously. Even when design has been part of the process, it has often been restricted to considerations of packaging, logos, fonts and colors.

But now design is impacting more dramatically on the complex web that makes up our food supply, and beginning to make it better. Ways of thinking about design have broad applications and are becoming central to how companies compete. To succeed, food designers need to understand consumers and envision what they want, and to use technology and systems to show they can deliver what has been envisioned. They also need to understand organizations in order to make innovation happen in a corporation.

The authors of this book argue that design has been grossly underestimated in the food industry. The role of design in relation to technology of every kind (materials, mechanics, ingredients, conversion, transformation, etc.) is described, discussed, challenged and put into proper perspective. The authors deftly analyze and synthesize complex concepts, inspiring new ideas and practices through real-world examples. The second part of the book emphasizes the role of innovation and how the elements described and discussed in the first parts (design, technology, business) must join forces in order to drive valuable innovation in complex organizations such as large (and not so large) food companies.

Ultimately, this groundbreaking book champions the implementation of a design role in defining and executing business strategies and business processes. Not only are designers tremendously important to the present and future successes of food corporations, but they should play an active and decisive role at the executive board level of any food company that strives for greater success.

Author Biographies xiii

Forewords xv

Acknowledgements xvii


1 Design and technology 3

All is flowing: π ́ αντα ’ρϵ̃ı 3

How design influences our lives: form and function 8

The HGTV effect 10

Design in the food industry 12

Reasonable price 15

Adapted for small families, households with smaller numbers of people 15

Safety 16

Easy to open 17

Easy to see 18

Easy understanding of label claims 19

Easy handling 19

The role of product design in the food industry 20

Conclusions 21

Topics for further discussion 22

References 22

2 Design: from object to process 23

The expanding role of design 23

Why now? Drivers of change = the industry shifts + design expands 24

New platforms / new options 25

Speed to market / direct to market / new retail models 26

Open innovation / systems innovation 27

Creative economy / sharing economy 28

Maker culture / hacker culture / DIY / new craft 28

3D Printing 29

Being design driven: icons at the intersection of business and design 30

The value of the designer: a new mindset 32

The era of the design entrepreneur 33

Design impact: making / meaning / transforming 35

Design as a process of exploration (making) 35

Design as a process of creating relevance (meaning) 36

Design as a catalyst for change (transforming) 37

The future of meaningful product experiences: design delivers 38

Creating meaningful food experiences 38

Conclusions 40

Topics for further discussion 41

References 42

3 How food companies use technology and design 43

Form and function in action 43

Importance of design in the consumer goods industry 46

The role of technology and design in packaging innovation and renovation 48

Food safety, quality & environment 48

Supply chain 53

Suppliers 54

Costs 54

Consumers 55

Customers 60

Manufacturing 62

Conclusions 63

Topics for further discussions 63

References 64

4 Design and technology in academia: a new approach 65

From the beginning to today 65

The sponsored project: redefining products, experiences, brands and systems 67

Design as process for exploration 68

Design as a process for creating relevance 70

Design as a process of transformation 74

The expanding role of design/business being design driven + design being business driven 76

From “multi-discipline” to “über-multi-discipline” and the future of “design +” 77

Preparing the next generation of innovators/the “experience portfolio” 80

New ventures in design education/from non-profit to for-profit 81

The future of design and technology in academia: new models/new schools/new programs 82

Conclusions 85

Topics for further discussion 86

References 87

5 Design and the business world 89

Design: the helper for business and technical 89

Design: the connector of business elements 91

The “n-dimensional design space” in the business environment 92

Typical and desirable business interactions inside today’s consumer goods industry 96

Design: the enabler for logistics and supply chain 98

Design as a counterfeit fighter 101

The way forward: “down-to-earth design” 104

The future: design is management 107

Conclusions 110

Topics for further discussion 111

References 111

6 The corporate reality in a changing world 113

The decision makers in our society: a “new order” 113

The decision makers and takers in the corporate environment 115

Some historic lessons in complexity building 116

The profit margin race 119

Venture capital (VC): decision makers become risk averters 121

Utopia: from old reality to a new reality? 123

Conclusions 130

Topics for further discussion 131

Reference 132

7 Design and technology: innovation is the connector 133

Design: beyond connecting business elements 133

How companies define their business strategies: a short historical perspective 137

From strategy to action 138

The Nestlé example 139

The Unilever example 139

The PepsiCo example 141

The General Mills example 141

The Kraft example 142

Design as an integral part of business plans and marketing strategies: a possible reality? 143

The elements of a typical business plan 143

Innovation as connector of technology and design 145

Innovation in design and technology can influence how the food industry operates 146

Examples from the Nestlé Company 147

Examples from P&G 149

Examples from the Unilever Company 150

How commitment to innovation can influence the corporate environment: a first glimpse 150

Conclusions 151

Topics for further discussion 152

References 153


8 Innovation understood 157

Innovation and creativity: the four stages of value creation 157

People and attitudes 159

How to be an innovator in the food industry 162

Innovations and inventions in food and beverages: a short historical overview 165

Where and when does innovation begin? 169

The people in the food industry 170

Commitment to innovation 173

Conclusions 174

Topics for further discussion 175

References 175

9 Nurturing the innovators 177

“People are our most important assets” 177

How the right people are best supported: define values 179

Continuous learning 183

How can design contribute to continuous learning? 184

Supporting innovators in driving their innovations through complex organizations 186

The secret of sharing 188

Personal nurturing tools 190

Conclusions 193

Topics for further discussion 194

References 195

10 The innovation tools 197

From rituals to innovation tools 197

The innovation environment 199

Execution 200

Quest 202

Movie 203

Fog 204

From brainstorming to creative problem solving (CPS) 205

The divergence—convergence pain 206

FastPack: a brainstorming exercise specially designed for packaging development 208

The IdeaStore 209

Inside the box 213

Conclusions 215

Topics for further discussion 216

References 217

11 From open innovation to partnerships 219

From open innovation to partnerships: a logical transition 219

The creation of the innovation partnership model 224

How to deal with intellectual property in innovation partnerships 230

Turning partnerships into successful and sustainable endeavors 232

The future of open innovation and innovation partnerships 233

Conclusions 235

Topics for further discussion 237

References 237

12 What can the food industry learn from Silicon Valley? 239

Introduction 239

Hi, I am a connections explorer 239

Six degrees of separation 240

The strength of weak ties 240

Formal approaches to innovation partnerships 242

Singularity University 242

Corporate venture groups and innovation labs 242

Bridge organizations 244

But how does somebody become a networker or connector or a connections explorer? 244

The power of networking: networking principles 246

Silicon Valley and its eco-system 246

What about food and tech incubators/accelerators/co-working spaces in the USA and the San Francisco Bay Area? 248

Food incubators and accelerators outside of Silicon Valley 249

What else does the food industry borrow from Silicon Valley? 250

More Examples 252

A food revolution beyond Silicon Valley 253

Funding good design is now officially mainstream 255

Who are the food and design start-up players? 258

Conclusions 258

Topics for further discussion 259

13 What was it all about? An attempt at a conclusion 261

A few moments in the life of Manny Middle 261

From field to fork 263

Manny Middle discovers the role of design 269

Minnie Middleton takes a closer look at the role of technology and discovers the concept of supplier partners 271

Minnie Middleton discovers the value of innovation in her company 272

Minnie Middleton and Manny Middle discover the power of networking and travel to Silicon Valley 273

Epilogue: the questionnaire 274

Feedback from the Unilever CEO 276

Other feedback, combined from several “voices” from the industry 278

Index 287