In March, we ran our first InnoWeek at CUB. This brought together over 70 people from across the business to undergo “design-thinking” training and help solve real consumer problems. To learn more about InnoWeek and innovation at CUB, we sat down with Insights & Innovation Director Adam Murphy.
Adam has worked in innovation and insights for almost 12 years. First at Ab-InBev fornine years and at CUB for the last three. Ever since he joined our company, Adam has worked to change the alcohol industry and the brands within it, while also promoting new ways of approaching innovation throughout the company. The most recent example of this being InnoWeek.
He shared some of his motivation for creating Inno Week. “I’m a firm believer that ideas can come from anywhere. I run a small team dedicated to innovation and consumer insights – but it would be naïve to think that my team of just six people are the only ones in the company capable of spotting and solving consumer problems and opportunities. I would much prefer to shape CUB into the kind of company where we tap into the wider business and are able to own the mantra that ideas can come from anywhere.”
InnoWeek saw the teams working through a 5-day “human-centred design” sprint to generate new ideas for CUB’s innovation pipeline. The quantity and quality of ideas that came out of the workshop demonstrate Adam was right – ideas can come from anywhere. Over 1400 ideas were thought up over the week, some of which his team are now developing. He says “It ended up being way more successful than we ever hoped and it really did validate the belief that a more diverse team sees new and different opportunities and comes up with more diverse ideas. However, the biggest learning of the week was that we will be doing it far more often!”
Off the back of this success, Adam and his team are about to launch an innovation portal, where anyone across the business can submit ideas to be considered by his team.
Adam gave some insight into why it is so important that CUB continue to innovate. He says “what people want today isn’t always what they want tomorrow. People’s lives change and their tastes evolve so we need to keep finding new ways to better satisfy our consumers and their ever-changing needs. Because if we sit still, other companies will instead meet these needs. We need to stay agile and keep up with what the consumer wants.”
He continues “Innovation is critical to our company and industry. You only need to look at Great Northern Brewing Co, one of the biggest beer brands in Australia. Ten years ago, it was still being developed in our innovation pipeline.”
Adam added “The way we are approaching innovation at CUB now is completely different compared to five years ago. I like to describe it this way: CUB didn’t have an innovation funnel; we had an innovation tunnel. If an idea entered the innovation process, it went all the way to being launched. And that’s not how it should be. Now, we have an appetite to fail. We are putting 50 things into the plan at the beginning of the year and end up launching just five. Because to get the right five, you have to sort through the 50 and find out what will really work, for consumers, for customers and for CUB.”
Over the past two years, Adam and his team have released a disruptive range of new beverages, all of which went through the innovation funnel, including Carlton Zero, Brookvale Union Vodka Peach Iced Tea and Pure Blonde Organic Lager and Cider. This was recognised when we were named the highest-ranked FMCG company in the AFR Boss Most Innovative Companies List last year, We can’t wait to see what products Adam and his team will develop next.