Innovators who will make a difference in the world

chiacolato2 copyAlmost two weeks ago I posted a picture of the winning idea – and the team behind it – from the new product development challenge that I, on behalf of New Nutrition Business, run each year at the University of Maastricht, in the Netherlands.

This week I’m showing the product – and the team – that came second.

They were a close contender for first place. Not only did the team carefully think through ingredients, technical issues, packaging, marketing messages and pricing, they made a video commercial and even made the actual product for everyone in the room to taste. And all in one week.

What I found at Maastricht were a group of young people whose skills were far above my own at the same age.

And more importantly, above the skills of many people already working in industry. Including certain people in very senior jobs.

The Maastricht students are studying for their Master’s in Health Food Innovation Management. They are a multinational crowd – from France, Korea, Portugal, Ireland and elsewhere – all studying a difficult subject in English, which for most of them is their second language.

In our industry we talk a lot about innovation – but in practice very few companies do it.

One good step that businesses can make towards being more innovative is to hire one of these dynamic young people and put them to work in a team to make your business better.

We did – and it was one of the best decisions we ever made.

And if you’re not yet ready to give one a job, then hire an intern (we did) to help you fix a problem.

In our world we don’t lack capable, energetic, team-spirited, creative young people – what I fear we sometimes lack is senior management that knows how to provide leadership for them. And shareholders who understand how to harness that energy to a vision.

But if you are one of the people who does understand leadership and vision – and I know you’re out there, I’ve met you – why not make it your next step to go here Health Food Innovation Management and see what you can learn.

Posted in Editorial, Mainsite

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