SYDNEY: Building an innovation culture at a large brand begins with hiring the right people, a senior executive at Anheuser-Busch InBev has said.

According to Tina Wung, Global Head of Innovation for the brewing giant, which owns brands such as Budweiser, Corona and Stella Artois, change must start from within the company.

"The first way a company should build their innovation capability is in-house … [by] recruiting people who have an innovation and entrepreneurial mindset; one that is curious about new technologies and trends that are out there or grooming your existing employees to have those skill sets," Wung said at ad:tech Sydney.

Brands should also be clear on their goals for innovation initiatives, she said. (For more, including the role of partnerships, read WARC's exclusive report: How AB InBev created an innovation culture.)

"Innovation is a term that has been diluted because it's been so sexy and everybody's throwing it around. Everyone has innovation in their title but does it mean that you want to totally disrupt the way you do business?” she asked.

"Is it a step change or an incremental change? What areas of the business do you want to focus on? There can be different definitions for innovation for each of your functions but get clear as to what it means to you, and what the vision is," said Wung.

Driving innovation doesn't stop with your brand, Wung advised – if it does, there's a major missed opportunity. For AB InBev, this involves educating distributors and retailers about the changing behaviour of consumers and how this affects their business.

"A big part of transforming our culture from within was educating our partners," said Wung. In my experience, culture has to embrace innovation from bottom up. The business needs to have a clear focus as far as what it's going to accomplish, and have the resources in place to enable that."

Data sourced from WARC