One of the coolest innovations in FMCG right now is not a product but a new way that FMCG brands are finding innovations. Last month, the University of Cambridge ran a Dragon’s Den/Shark Tank “pitching event” that brought 18 innovators to an jury of senior leaders and decision-makers from global FMCG brand owners including Unilever, GlaxoSmithKline, Heinz, BAT and General Mills.
Innovators had five minutes to pitch their innovations – that ranged from new ingredients, manufacturing, packaging to marketing innovation – followed by a Q&A session. Using a points system, entries were judged by FMCG brands on degree of innovation, degree of fit with innovation needs, and commercialisation.
The latest winner is Anacail, a start-up with an innovative solution for improving food safety and shelf-life using ozone. Runners up included Global Inkjet Systems (GIS), Nextek, Eminate and HarvestMark.
Why we think Innovation Pitching Events are Cool
Innovation pitching contests tap into a very powerful survival of the fittest process; the same process that underpins innovation in the natural world, and the progress of human knowledge. Scientists call it “Universal Selectionism“, FMCG brand owners call it smart business; a simple solution for profiting from Joy’s Law, the ideas that ‘No matter who you are, most of the smartest people work for someone else,’ attributed to Sun Microsystems co-founder Bill Joy.
The major opportunity for innovation in FMCG is to take offline pitching contests online, and provide regular online pitching contests that pitch innovation solutions against each other and allow FMCG brand owners to profit from the best. The BBC put Dragon’s Den online, now the opportunity is to create a specialist online Dragon’s Den for FMCG.