Cooking Up a Storm - Using Design in Food Innovation
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Cooking Up a Storm - Using Design in Food Innovation

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It’s no secret that we have become a nation of foodies. Enticing new food and drink experiences litter the pages of our lifestyle magazines, making consumers ever more demanding. ...

It’s no secret that we have become a nation of foodies. Enticing new food and drink experiences litter the pages of our lifestyle magazines, making consumers ever more demanding.

Despite being famed for transportation and product design, Seymourpowell’s designers often work with a different raw material – food. Whether creating the future of beer, chocolate, coffee, orange juice or crackers, it’s the same team of talented designers turning their hand to the future of food who were, the day before, working on the design of a TV or a train.

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    Cooking Up a Storm - Using Design in Food Innovation Cooking Up a Storm - Using Design in Food Innovation Document Transcript

    • COOKING UP A STORM
    • Crawford Market in Mumbai Cultural observation in glob al food centres Cooking up a storm... Using design in food Innovation JENNA CUSWORTH-BOLGER - Head of User ResearchSeymourpowell It’s no secret that we have become a nation of foodies. Enticing new food and drink experiences litter the pages of our lifestyle magazines, making consumers ever more demanding. Brands are increasingly eager to stay ahead of shifting tastes with new product launches, but it can be a struggle as gearing up production can take months, often years, of planning. We’ve observed manufacturers increasingly looking beyond their development kitchens and marketing departments for inspiration and turning to design. Confidential. © Seymour Powell Limited, 2012. All rights reserved. Despite being famed for transportation and product design, Seymourpowell’s designers often work with a different raw material – food. Whether creating the future of beer, chocolate, coffee, orange juice or crackers, it’s the same team of talented designers turning their hand to the future of food who were, the day before, working on the design of a TV or a train.
    • 1: Gathering the right ingredients The first phase of the design process - foresight - is particularly important in food and drink innovation. This ensures new ideas are centred on needs, are future focused and globally relevant. There are three strands of activity typically needed: Trend Research The adage goes ‘you can’t research the future’. However we believe that by observing patterns and sensing the cultural atmosphere it is possible to shine a light on the future. This is vital because food and drink manufacturers can take years to get from the point of concept to a functioning production line, and the capital expenditure of a new line needs a compelling business case. We must therefore be future focused with our ideas – designing concepts for five to seven years and not just next year’s big bet. If we only ever design for the short term, the mid and long term propositions never happen as their groundwork has to begin yesterday. It is vital to work from the future backwards. To inspire, test and validate our trend research we regularly conduct interviews with industry thought leaders - our constantly growing network of international food writers, development chefs, food designers and food futurologists provide us with a rich source of thought provoking information. Immersions with Leading Edge Consumers William Gibson famously quipped ‘The future is here, it’s just not evenly distributed’ and this is something we live by when we approach user research in the context of food and drink innovation. So much market research focuses only on talking to a brand’s ‘typical’ consumer but this will only ever tell you about the present and the past. We believe in talking to the world’s early adopters - people living more ‘progressive’ lifestyles. This isn’t just people with an edgy haircut – it’s those leading a lifestyle and living a mindset that sets them apart from the norm - demonstrating needs and desires that are yet to come into the mainstream. We charm our way into their neighbourhoods, their homes, their kitchens and bedrooms – spending time immersing ourselves in their lives - temporarily displacing ourselves into the future. Our design trained researchers use the principles of ethnography; seeing people Confidential. © Seymour Powell Limited, 2012. All rights reserved. Urban farmers in san francisco An immersion with leading edge consumers in context and understanding as much from observation as from listening. Over the last year we’ve travelled to the four corners of the globe and met with paleodieters, urban farmers, supper club hosts and experimental chefs - delighting in the stories they’ve shared about their world of food. Cultural Observation Often the brands we work for need future products that appeal in many different markets. This means understanding the food culture in different regions and what’s shaping local changes in behaviour. When our researchers travel to different cities they do so with open eyes and mouths. They head to the latest pop-up restaurants and shops, explore the local markets and stores and spot food trends as they happen on the ground. We always travel with an empty suitcase that’s then filled with product and packaging examples to inspire our designers.
    • Factory line tour Creative workshops Distillation Understanding R&D opportunity on the ground Inspiring hundreds of new ideas Understanding where priorities lie 2: Using the Right Tools 3:Turning up the Heat 4: Let them Eat Cake! Technology Landscape Scoping Powerful Creative Events Building an Innovation Roadmap We need to root innovation in the realities of a business’s technological and commercial capabilities. This means deeply understanding the technology limitations of current production lines as well as the technology possibilities on the horizon in other businesses or in development in the research labs of the world’s universities. Seymourpowell’s creative events are a melting pot where all the project ingredients are fused together to form ideas. We bring to life the insights from our trends and user research in the form of Innovation Territories, with inspiring video, photographs and product examples. Whilst this volume of ideas is fantastic, the raw thinking is made more useful once the essence is distilled and aligned with R&D and brand ambitions. Our designers work with R&D within and beyond the category to map the landscape of available production processes, ingredients and packaging possibilities. These spaces of rich opportunity are the inspiration for groups of designers to work with the client’s global teams to create compelling new ideas. Each idea is captured beautifully in words and sketches. The last creative event for a leading beverage and snack client resulted in over 200 individual product ideas. The next vital step is to explore which ideas will deliver profit and growth, in turn helping businesses understand which technologies and capital -expenditure to back. Our team bring the ideas to life, both visually and tangibly through models, for qualitative and quantitative consumer research. Working this way allows businesses to develop concepts rooted in trend and insight work and then validate them, with a sense of likely returns, so they can move forward and invest with confidence. Every food and drink business relies on innovation to drive growth but creating truly breakthrough innovation relies on an inspired look into the future and a hefty helping of creativity from a skilled design team. Confidential. © Seymour Powell Limited, 2012. All rights reserved.