When Kraft Heinz launched into a new category in China, it was able to do so in just 14 months – with new manufacturing facilities and 14 SKUs – thanks to the particular way it addresses innovation.

Roshni Chatterjee, the company’s Head of White Space Innovations for APAC, addressed this topic at the recent FUTR Asia Summit in Singapore, where she outlined how the company had gone about introducing Jif Jaf, a new cookie brand and Kraft Heinz’s “global entry into snacking beyond nuts”.

“We are here to build capabilities with respective products, R&D, manufacturing, packaging, and most importantly, consumer insights,” Chatterjee said.

“It allows us to enter new categories, categories where we are not present in today, with speed and agility.” (For more, read WARC’s report: Five principles of innovation: how Kraft Heinz entered China’s snacks category.)

The most important principle of innovation, she suggested, is leadership alignment from the very start of the project – and leadership that plays a supportive role, has a risk appetite and empowers the team “to make decisions about the project forward, instead of having to wait for approval at every stage”.

After that, Kraft Heinz uses agile teams, pulling in members from multiple countries and functions, few of whom work full-time on a project.

These then seek to build market and consumer understanding in parallel. That way “you are able to iterate on the concept, the project, and the idea together – instead of having to wait for one information to come in and then work on the other piece of information,” Chatterjee explained.

When arriving at the point of commercialisation, teaming up with the right manufacturing partner can be a gamechanger, not just in terms of production and packing but also in helping address the maintenance needs and project challenges that inevitably surface throughout the lifecycle and implementation of a project.

Finally, “live by Murphy’s Law”, Chatterjee advised. This states that if something can go wrong, it definitely will, so “start execution early” and act swiftly to find solutions when problems arise.

Sourced from WARC