With established brands and businesses facing challenges from digitally enabled disruptors, it’s become ever-more important for them to innovate at speed, ideally while maintaining quality and lowering costs; Henkel, the German consumer goods company, says it does just that.

At the recent Qual360 Europe conference organised by Merlien Institute, Maren Jekel, director global market research/laundry & home care at Henkel, outlined a pilot project that sought to move from insight generation to validated concept within just three months.

“In order not to get disrupted, we have to come up with more disruptive innovation by ourselves,” she said. And that needs to be done rapidly, which has implications across the business.

“If the innovation process has to speed up, then the innovation research has to do so as well,” she pointed out. (For more details, read WARC’s report: Henkel’s route to faster, better – and cheaper – innovation.)

Henkel’s solution has been to create a Game Changer team, which is allowed to work completely differently to the core business and marketing teams, with more flexibility and more freedom to operate.

Tasked with getting “innovation done” within three months, Jekel needed a new research approach.

“We wanted to be very close to our consumers, even closer than we had already been at that time,” she explained.

“We wanted to have access to them really 24 hours, seven days a week. And we wanted to use our consumers not only as respondents; we wanted to co-create with them, with the innovators and early adopters among them.”

An unbranded online platform brought in copious amounts of raw data, which Henkel’s consultancy InSites transformed into insights (using the formula: it’s me x aha! x emotion) which were then then ranked in order to assess which should be followed up first.

Henkel began ideation on the first of these with ideas feeding into a rapid, iterative testing process on the platform that lasted only 48 hours before moving on to the next insight.

In this way a total of 24 projects were conducted over a three-month period, with many progressing to first concept validation – “and this across different categories”, Jekel noted.

Sourced from WARC