Ever since its founding in 1999, Eden Springs, a supplier of water cooling and coffee solutions, had grown through acquisition; successfully consolidating its industry and becoming the largest European provider in the process. However, the focus on consolidation and efficiency has curtailed their ability to innovate, while commoditising their own product in the process - an uncomfortable place to be in.

In 2016, Eden Springs was acquired by Cott Corporation and given the challenge to shift from an acquisition business model to an organic growth model focused much more on customer's needs.

Traditionally, Eden Springs would have had two choices to do this - call in the consultants to recommend the change or run market research surveys themselves to gather data from their customers.

They chose a third way ...

The case for change and inadvertent dangers of private equity ownership

As a leading supplier of water and coffee systems, Eden Springs has expanded into new geographies across Europe since its launch in 1997. The company went through a buyout by a number of private equity funds, and in the process the business focus shifted strongly to growing short term value. What had been left behind? They successfully created scale and cost leadership but somehow commoditized the category, not necessarily putting customers in the center of strategic decisions.

How do you innovate when you don't know what your customer wants?