Archive for December, 2012

Phone app lets retail store shoppers skip the checkout lines

December 23, 2012 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Cool Inventions and gadgets

How handy would this be for last-minute Christmas shopping?   QThru, a mobile-enabled technology that lets shoppers skip the checkout lanes, is new on the market this month. The Seattle-based maker launched its mobile point-of-sale platform, allowing consumers to shop, scan and check out using their smartphones. Right now you won’t find it anywhere outside of Seattle, probably due to the fact that each kiosk will cost the stores around $900.

Users can download the app for both Android and iOS. Then head to your favorite retailer to find that its products and pricing synchronized with a secure QThru cloud. You then input your credit card information, scan your barcodes and voila – you’re out the door!   Here’s a video showing how QThru works:

QThru is now planning to bring the service to 14 grocery and retail stores in the Seattle area by the end of March 2013. If successful, perhaps we’ll see more mobile checkouts by next December.

Innovative companies know how to collaborate

December 20, 2012 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Open Innovation

China Insurance Building (中国保险大厦), Shanghai

I recently returned from China after chairing the 2012 CoDev Asia Conference on Open Innovation, held in Shanghai. CoDev North America is an event that we have had in the U.S. for a number of years, and this was the first year of having the event in, and for, Asia.

Regardless of where it is held, I was able to once again see and confirm first hand that there is no silver bullet or one-size-fits-all formula for open innovation partnerships.

Companies across diverse industries continue to believe that in order to create value for their customers and consumers, the partnerships and alliances created must have a highly customized strategy — one that is unique to both the culture and current state of one’s business.

At this inaugural Asia event a lot of time was spent dissecting the next-generation “best practices” of working with partner organizations to achieve business goals. I highly recommend that today’s business leaders do this with their colleagues on a regular basis.

Why do we need to learn best practices from each other? One reason is because in order to excel, companies need to continually meet external and internal challenges, and they need to maximize scarce or focused resources in this new economy. By combining core competencies of different businesses, roadblocks can be better illuminated sooner, and better solutions can be delivered faster.

In Shanghai it was exciting to see how some of the world’s top thought leaders and advanced practitioners share candid insights from their own experience in corporations including Kraft Foods, Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, Dow Chemical, Kimberly-Clark Corp., PGI, WD-40 Co., Asia Pulp & Paper, and more. Many of these leaders are achieving much faster results now than they have in the past, thanks to partnering with like-minded companies who have similar goals for growth, and for meeting the needs of their customers.

Regardless of our industry, we all have the same challenges and the same need to adopt a willingness to invest the time in building collaborative relationships and managing key engagement touchpoints, even in — well, especially in — times of slow growth. If you are willing to do this as a standard practice, then regardless of size or industry, you can infuse innovation into your corporate culture and make progress in delivering sustainable growth.

While there is no silver bullet, it is certainly clear that companies can build better capabilities and networks for creating business value by smartly teaming up with strategic partners, rather than going it alone.

Mood-altering therapy in a digital pill

December 18, 2012 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Cool Inventions and gadgets

Have you heard of psychoacoustics?  It’s a big word for a form of therapy that promises mood-altering results. And get this: A company called Digipill is offering this therapy as swallowable, downloadable drugs, through transient electronics that dissolve in the body.

These digital drugs are already helping humans to alter their health with technology. Digipill uses a form of hypnosis that can induce experiences ranging from relaxation to weight loss and creative ambition to legal highs.

Here’s what the website says about the Digipill:

Digipill uses psychoacoustics to allow you to unlock your subconscious and change your perception.
There are no gimmicks or binaural beats involved; instead, Digipill uses completely unique techniques inside carefully crafted audio ‘pills’ which typically play for around half an hour – although the effects can often last for much longer – sometimes even a lifetime.

United Kingdom-based mobile developer Yuza developed the drugs, with the assistance of self-help author Brian Colbert.

“Each Digipill has been uniquely formulated using specific blends of sound and language to gently engage and activate more of the mind. This makes it easier to bring about change, build new habits, and promote an overall sense of wellbeing”says Colbert, leading expert in NLP, and psychoacoustic director of Digipill.

Each pill contains 30 minutes of audio.  Users download the free app and receive one free ‘pill’ to try before purchasing other options from the Pill Store.

 

You can even eat the dishes!

December 16, 2012 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Food & Restaurant trends

 

A Brazil-based fast food chain is serving up dinner in edible packaging. The marketing campaign for Bob’s fast food chain is taking a bite out of litter and waste, while making a splash in the Food and Beverage industry.

Photo courtesy of SpringWise.Com

Advertising agency NBS helped the restaurant franchise come up with this interesting and Eco-friendly way to wrap its burgers in a kind of rice paper that can be eaten along with the burger. I guess you wouldn’t need to unwrap your food; simply bite into the wrapped burger.

Food industry taking to healthy choice trend

December 12, 2012 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Consumer "Identity"

English: Dagwinkel foodstores fresh fruits & v...

Last week we talked about ongoing shifts in the beverage industry, and this week I would like to follow up with a discussion of the associated category of trends in food products and consumption.

Just as with beverages, consumers want healthier products for themselves and their families. They are looking to manufacturers to provide better-for-you ingredients, and are getting smarter about knowing the science behind what is showing up on retail shelves. Many new products and emerging food categories are being introduced having more protein, less preservatives, and more vegetables and are being offered in increasingly unprocessed forms.

Consumers today are spending more time in the interesting peripheral areas of the modern grocery store, like the bakery, the deli, or the coffee/cafe area. They are being encouraged by retailers to do so. A recent National Eating Trends Report from the market research company NPD Group, shows consumers are purchasing more poultry and fish, fresh fruit, nuts and seeds, cheeses, soy milk, Greek yogurt, and coconut water.

Many consumers today are also becoming more conservative in snack habits, with a little less than half of shoppers saying they are cutting back on snack purchases, and about a quarter saying they’ve eliminated snack purchases altogether.

Manufacturers are using their brands and the latest technology to reach out and “feed” these new consumer-purchasing choices. With new food products, novel marketing ideas, and a higher bar set on convenient food packaging, you’re going to start seeing a transformation of products on grocery store shelves that will continue to evolve.

Consumers still look at food as a vehicle for nutrition, but on the flip side some people are also beginning to look at food as a channel for the delivery of harmful allergens and unnecessary constituents like excess preservatives, salt, and fats.

Superficial awareness is no longer enough though, so manufacturers, retailers, health advocates and even insurance companies are investing in education to help consumers understand the reality today. It’s no surprise that consumers will be more likely to purchase the products that manufacturers have make easy for them to understand what it is and why it is good for them and their families.

Smaller, niche brands continue to gain momentum in the marketplace. Specialty foods come at a premium price, but consumers see these brands as providing them with healthier exotic and ethnic flavored foods that help meet their cravings and desires.

Some consumer habits will be hard to change though. Another NPD survey just released this week shows that 50 percent of adults purchase candy as the top snack item for their family over the holidays, followed closely by chips. The purchase of fresh fruit comes in third.

Filling those stockings with chocolate is a holiday tradition that may happily be around for quite awhile. However I suspect the January crowd at the local fitness center will too.

2012 CoDev Asia a success!

December 7, 2012 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Events, Uncategorized

This week I’m in Shanghai, China, for the  2012 CoDev Asia Conference The final session of Open Innovation Best Practices wrapped up yesterday, and I’m excited to announce it was both productive and inspiring.  My company, Innovationedge, coordinated and sponsored the event along with The China Institute for Innovation and The Management Roundtable.  As this year’s conference chair, I did a lively presentation  on open innovation learning and next generation practices.

This event brought together a faculty of leading thought leaders, experts and advanced practitioners from companies including Kraft Foods, Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, Dow Chemical, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, PGI, WD-40 Company, Asia Pulp & Paper, and more. These leaders shared their experiences and candid insights on the latest trends, what’s working, what’s not, as well as the future direction of co-development and open innovation strategies.  Many of these leaders are achieving faster results than they had in the past, thanks to partnering with like-minded companies who have similar goals for growth and for meeting the needs of their customers.
I want to thank all of them for helping our attendees learn how to better build capabilities and networks to create business value.  We all learned from each other how to identify and implement new practices, tools and even key open business models to leverage in our own efforts.

And if you missed this conference and are looking for an opportunity to learn more in a venue closer to home, I highly recommend you join us for CoDev 2013: Open Innovation in La Jolla!

A healthy explosion in the Beverage industry

December 1, 2012 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Food & Restaurant trends

Cocktail by candle light 1: "With some of...
The holiday season is a great time to talk about food and drink!  Over the last few years the global beverage industry not only continues to grow, but has been undergoing transformation.

The industry is evolving, driven by consumers who are looking for healthy, organic options in juices, teas, sodas and functional drinks. At the same time, many people also are looking for on-the-go convenience.

The growth of the global beverage manufacturing sector is being fueled by increased consumer demand and awareness towards health and wellness-oriented beverage products. There are many examples of this growth phenomenon in the last year.

Even though soda sales may be slowing, water sales are increasing substantially. According to a recent Mintel International report, flavored water accounted for more than half of the beverage product launches in North America last year.

Coca-Cola Co.’s Glaceau Vitaminwater Zero made the largest strides in the still bottled water segment with multifold increase in sales. PepsiCo’s SoBe Lifewater Zero also is growing healthily and has added to the enhanced water segment with the release of two new varieties: Strawberry Kiwi Lemonade and Macintosh Apple. Sounds delicious.

Sparkling waters also are posting positive numbers and the category segment is growing. All brands in the Top 10 of this group experienced sales growth, with the largest coming from TalkingRain Beverage Co.’s Sparkling Ice brand. Sparkling Ice carbonated water is made with spring water and natural fruit juices, is artificially sweetened and contains zero calories. The company says the drink offers healthy B vitamins, vitamin D, green tea extracts and antioxidants.

When water isn’t enough to quench your thirst, there is also a growing emergence of new branded lines of all-natural and organic enhanced juices, teas and sodas. These new drinks claim to give the body the nutrients it needs without sacrificing taste.

If you haven’t heard of them, some of the brands that make up this market landscape include Honest, R.W. Knudsen, Santa Cruz Organic, Purity Organic, Flavrz and Steaz. These slightly sweetened beverages often are filled with herbal extracts, minerals and antioxidants and can come in premixed, liquid concentrate, or even powdered formats that can be added to water for portable convenience when traveling. Some of these options claim to provide functional benefits of natural energy and immunity-boosting vitamins and minerals.

Finally there are consumers who are sensitive to environmental issues and want their beverage options also to deal with the issue of landfill pollution. They want beverage manufacturers to be more eco-friendly.

Manufacturers are responding and taking up these concerns with new materials and packaging. Thinner containers and ones made with biodegradable materials are being increasingly used. Beverage companies are becoming serious about their sustainable sourcing strategies.