The Garage Group is excited to organize and host another Courageous Minds Only chat on Operating Like a Startup in a Bigco, this time with leaders from PepsiCo, Fortune Brands, and Hyatt on Wednesday, November 7th, at 5:30 pm CST at WeWork National in Chicago, IL, 125 S Clark St, Chicago, IL 60603.

Over the past year, we’ve been listening in on lessons from corporate leaders from Kraft Heinz, Tyson Foods, AbinBev, CME Group, Worldpay, and more as they discuss their industry-specific challenges and first-hand experiences from enabling their Bigcos to operate like startups. These battle-tested leaders are courageously trailblazing the way forward. They’re under tremendous pressure to keep their organizations relevant and growing in the face of increasing market uncertainty.

We’re all learning, failing forward, identifying and solving problems, and figuring out the right path. Let’s keep learning from one another. 

On November 7th in Chicago, listen in for battle-tested lessons learned from these top corporate leaders on strategies and tactics they’ve personally used to allow their organizations to search for sustainable and bold new ways to add value in the face of increasing market uncertainty.

Here’s who is jumping in:

Panel led by Erin Faulk, Vice President of Lean Growth, The Garage Group

Join us at WeWork National in Chicago, IL, 125 S Clark St, Chicago, IL 60603. Register below:

Below is the event agenda:

 

Event costs have been covered by The Garage Group so it is free to attend the event.  There will be beer, wine, and light snacks provided.

Join the conversation in Chicago on November 7th!

Thank you to our hosts, WeWork!

We’re continuing the conversation of operationalizing startup-inspired approaches in Bigcos at the Corporate Researchers Conference October 8-10 and The Market Research Event October 16-18.

Insights leaders will learn from and be inspired from courageous leaders setting the vision for and starting the hard journey of implementing entrepreneurial approaches against their strategic challenges. Come join us in Orlando or Scottsdale and learn from these inspiring leaders!

How Mars Petcare took a Strategy Sprint Approach to Tackle Revitalizing a Brand

(CRC: Corporate Researchers Conference- Orlando, FL)

The Mars Petcare team recently partnered with The Garage Group, taking a Strategy Sprint approach to tackle their challenge of revitalizing one of their brands. We’re jumping in with them at CRC to share some lessons learned, enablers during the sprint, and what needed to be true for the Mars Petcare team to continue their hustle and momentum after the sprint.

Senior Director at The Garage Group, Dennis Furia, Rachel Aubrey, Marketing Insights Lead, and Jessica Stiebel, Brand Manager at Mars Petcare, will share the overall approach they took, key enablers that led to their success, and lessons they plan to apply to future growth challenges.

See Dennis’s recent blog on the Insights Association website explaining a bit more about the approach and a few enablers.

Harnessing the Power of Entrepreneurial Approach to get to a $100M BASES Idea at Kellogg’s

(TMRE: The Market Research Event- Scottsdale, AZ)

Hear from Terrae Schroeder, Director of Insights & Innovation in the snacks division at Kellogg’s, and Sara Valasek, Director at The Garage Group about how they took an entrepreneurial approach to get to make an idea a “big bet.”

They will talk about 3 key approaches leveraged: having a growth mindset, the need for hustle, and taking a 360-degree approach to innovation. Kellogg’s has since adopted many of these approaches in their day-to-day, therefore shifting the culture a bit more entrepreneurial. Terrae recently participated in an interview about their upcoming presentation and shared the potential takeaways of the presentation:

“For companies looking for a different way to get to bigger and better innovation, this will lay out some key principles for success in implementing a new process and unlocking greater benefit from your organization’s resources. The market is moving very fast and we need to adjust to be quicker and more agile as well. You’ll learn how to leave your “we can’t” at the door!”

Learning CX from Universal Studios: Universal Studios Park Tour and Experiential Learning Session

(CRC: Corporate Researchers Conference- Orlando, FL)

We’re excited to partner with the organizers of CRC to develop an interactive way to apply how Universal Studios Park surprises, delights, and removes customer pain points through their amazing customer experience. Join other conference participants for a day at Universal Studios Park and observe how pain points are being solved, and the next day, connect them back to your customers’ pain points. Senior Director, Dennis Furia and Co-CEO, Ann Thompson, will lead a work session to bring these observations and connections to life.

If you’re headed to CRC or TMRE this year, give us a shout! We’ll have teams on the ground at both. Hope to see you there!

Financial services is an industry of large, venerable, powerful companies that have increasingly dominated the economy. They’re now experiencing rapid disruption by companies that are more capable of fast iteration. In fact, CB Insights expects Fintech investments to hit an all-time high in 2018. To stay relevant in that ever-changing landscape, it’s critical to follow the trends that have the greatest impact.  We’ve compiled a short list of macro digital trends influencing financial services, including pain points being solved by solutions leveraging the trend.

1. AI (Artificial Intelligence)

With the adoption of artificial intelligence, large companies are able transform data into knowledge while cutting costs and eliminating human error. For starters, machine learning has used associative memory to help financial institutions fight against fraud. AI has managed to solve for a number of pain points related to customer support interaction; allowing for 24/7 help via chatbot features, quick response time and behavior tracking for optimized communication. As artificial intelligence continues to collect more and more data, it is expected to be a huge money and time saver but may result in some security concerns, creating a pathway for potential online scams. Another reason some companies have yet to embrace this new tool is because many consumers don’t trust it and would prefer communicate with an actual human being.

Example Solution Leveraging this Trend  

Earlier this year, Bank of America introduced Erica to market. An AI-based virtual assistant, Erica is easy to use, instantaneous, and convenient for Bank of America members to have questions answered and simple tasks completed. The more consumers use Erica, the more Erica learns and is better able to serve consumers.

Example Pain Points it’s Solving :

Jobs to be Done:

How do consumers really feel about AI? Check out this article by Pegasystems.

2. Large tech companies entering Financial Services space

Tech companies have caused a huge disruption in the financial services industry. Brand trust and convenience, particularly within the millennial generation have welcomed this entrance into the category, giving the somewhat unrelated category the right to play in this new space.

Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook all recently entered the financial services industry. Platform integration makes it convenient and easy for their users to adopt new payment methods. Anymore, tech is one of the top consideration points when choosing a new financial service company. As mobile banking continues to dominate, things like user interface and ease of integration are more important to consumers. For many financial companies, large and small, the main focus right now is on customer experience.

Example Solution Leveraging this Trend

Facebook recently integrated a payment method for Messenger. You can now pay your Facebook friends any amount so long as you both have a debit card on file, you’re both at least 18 years of age, and the recipient accepts the payment. While not available in every country, it’s completely free to use and can be done from the application or a desktop.

Example Pain Points it’s Solving :

Jobs to be Done:

Check out this article by Adobe in understanding the recent transformation in the Financial Services Industry.

3. Blockchain

Blockchain and Bitcoin are all the rage! Blockchain technology enables individuals to leverage a peer-to-peer network to make transactions. This happens without having to pass payment through a proper authority because a decentralized network, with uncompromising and secure rules, polices the system.

The medium of exchange, better known as cryptocurrencies, are shaking

up the banking world by providing users with faster and cheaper ways to transact. It’s changing the way the world thinks about payments and threatening the need for a middleman, the role a bank or brokerage has been known to play. The biggest impact, however, may be the security of the systems. They are able to keep true, up-to-date records of transactions where a central repository may fall short. This capability will improve efficiency and make it easier to track suspicious behavior.

The challenge blockchain will continue to face is creating a legal framework and better notifying the public of its existence and benefits. Banks, and other financial services institutions, are our authorities, oftentimes with the backing of the U.S. Government. How these big institutions navigate the new tech and how well consumers begin to trust solutions like blockchain will be a trend to watch over the coming months and years.

Example Solution Leveraging This Trend

HashCash Consultants creates an exchange for enterprises via blockchain. As enterprises enter the exchange, they accept the rules of the blockchain, therefore passing over the need for a bank as the middleman. They can then directly interact with one another on a mutually identifiable set of books.

Example Pain Points it’s Solving :

Jobs to be Done:

PWC digs in to answer questions about blockchain and its impact.

4. Alternative Lenders

The shared economy has expanded from transportation and lodging into the financial space. Individuals seeking capital or decentralized asset ownership can use information technology to find efficient matches between providers, rather than automatically turning to a bank as an intermediary. Although this trend primarily exists within small companies, Bigcos like JPMorgan Chase have acquired partnerships with smaller upstarts to capitalize on this industry disruption.

Alternative lenders tend to cater to riskier clients, often times the folks who otherwise would not be granted a loan elsewhere. It is assumed that those clients will eventually grow their credit history and one day become a bank borrower; a strategic move for big company partnerships.

Example Solution Leveraging This Trend:

SoLo is a mobile application that allows users to lend and borrow from one another, provided the amount is under $1,000. Users build their Social Credit Score, allowing them to borrow more money (up to $1,000), and lenders have the satisfaction of helping someone less fortunate break out of a minor financial crisis.

Example Pain Points it’s Solving :

Jobs to be Done:

Understand more about alternative lending through this article by EY.

5. New Approaches to Investment

For a long time, investing required a financial planner, a minimum dollar amount, and somewhat of a one size fits all approach. Today, many new investment platforms have emerged, all with their own market strategy. With the integration of AI, some services don’t require human interaction at all; analyzing and tweaking your online portfolio as it sees fit. Others take a hybrid approach, granting online services with the help of a financial planner, by request. These new companies are making it easier than ever before to become financially educated and plan for the future. Many have found cheaper, more efficient ways to customize the offerings and get people connected to and feeling confident about their investments.

Example Solution Leveraging this Trend:

A woman’s life cycle and income are far different from a man, and Ellevest is all about creating a solution tailored to those differences so that women have an accurate and fair way to invest their money.

Example Pain Points it’s Solving :

Jobs to be Done:

The Garage Group is excited to organize and host another Courageous Minds Only chat on Operating Like a Startup in a Bigco, our first in Columbus, Ohio, this time with leaders from on Wednesday, November 14th, at 5:30 pm EST at Industrious, 629 North High Street, 4th Floor, Columbus, OH 43215.

Over the past year, we’ve been listening in on lessons from corporate leaders from Pepsico, Kraft Heinz, Tyson Foods, AbinBev, CME Group, Worldpay, and more as they discuss their industry-specific challenges and first-hand experiences from enabling their Bigcos to operate like startups. These battle-tested leaders are courageously trailblazing the way forward. They’re under tremendous pressure to keep their organizations relevant and growing in the face of increasing market uncertainty.

We’re all learning, failing forward, identifying and solving problems, and figuring out the right path. Let’s keep learning from one another. 

On November 14th in Columbus, listen in for battle-tested lessons learned from these top corporate leaders on strategies and tactics they’ve personally used to allow their organizations to search for sustainable and bold new ways to add value in the face of increasing market uncertainty.

Here’s who is jumping in:

Panel led by Ann Thompson, Co-CEO, The Garage Group

Join us at Industrious, 629 North High Street, 4th Floor, Columbus, OH 43215. Register below:

Below is the event agenda:

Event costs have been covered by The Garage Group so it is free to attend the event.  There will be beer, wine, and light snacks provided.

Join the conversation in Columbus on November 14th!

 

This year’s Natural Product Expo East Show in Baltimore featured countless new natural products launches. Many of the product launches continued in the same trend direction as the trends we highlighted earlier this year in our Expo West report, with more entrants in the kids, sustainability and vegan cheese spaces, to name a few.

In addition to seeing more traction in each of the spaces we outlined earlier in the year, here are five new spaces that continue to garner more product development support:

Fresh Take on Freezer Foods. While the old stigma of frozen foods was that they were processed, the next generation of frozen foods has flipped that paradigm to use flash-frozen to their advantage, offering less processed options that last longer than fresh refrigerated.

  1. Path of Life Brands – With an entire line of ready-to-cook frozen meals, Path of Life brands has brought the “fresh” aspect back to freezer meals. With their simple, wholesome and nutritious frozen meals and sides, Path of Life is making dinner time easier for moms everywhere.
  2. Eat Great Pizza – With gourmet toppings like Wild Mushroom and Classic Margherita, this frozen pizza company is redefining what consumers think of frozen pizza. Gone are the days of rubbery cheese and tough crusts. These pizzas are hand-tossed, par-baked and made with the best ingredients around.
  3. Foundry Foods Wildscape – This Nestle Incubator company features clear, reusable and recyclable packaging along with whole food ingredients that deliver on transparency well.

Vegan Queso. In our Expo West trend report from earlier this year, we highlighted the expansion of vegan cheese. That still continues, with extra traction in the queso area. Vegan queso takes something that feels like junk food/”off-limits” and makes it more “whole food” in the natural consumer’s eyes.

  1. Siete – This traditionally grain-free tortilla and tortilla chip company, launched queso dips at this year’s Expo East. The Queso is made with cashews and other real food ingredients such as tomatoes, onions, bell peppers and coconut milk powder, and comes in two varieties: Spicy Blanco and Mild Nacho. Both varieties have no added sugars or starches, and are grain free, gluten free, dairy free, vegan and paleo-friendly.
  2. Plant Based Pantry – With three queso flavors: Nacho, Green Chile, and Spicy, this vegan catering company turned queso company, packs ½ lb of veggies into each jar of queso.
  3. Cece’s Veggie Co Shells & Cheez Butternut Squash with Organic Vegan Cheddar Cheez – While not exactly queso, this product premiere features a creamy “cheez” sauce that stakes the claim as the first organic vegan “cheese” sauce for pasta on the market.

Mushrooms. Flavorful, umami mushrooms are peaking in consumer interest because of their adaptogenic benefits, along with nutrient density. Additionally, mushrooms are gaining popularity in the meat alternative space because their texture can be close to meat.

  1. Shrooms Crispy Mushroom Snack – Thick cut, hand-picked mushroom “chips” that are high in minerals and Vitamins D & B. Ranging in flavor from Smoky Barbecue, to Mediterranean Sea Salt, to Pizza Slice.
  2. Four Sigmatic Drinking Mushrooms – With benefits like helping you relax, be well, energize and support productivity, drinking mushrooms have become a trend to follow. Four Sigmatic mixes mushrooms with superfoods to create mushroom coffees, mushroom hot cocoas and matcha.
  3. Pan’s Mushroom Jerky – Helping bridge the gap between carnivore’s and a more plant-based lifestyle, this mushroom jerky is giving plant eaters a plant-based alternative to jerky. Pan’s Mushroom Jerky is vegan, gluten-free, paleo friendly and a rich source of fiber and vitamin D.

Pumpkin & Pumpkin Seed. Pumpkin seed is growing in popularity as source of plant-based protein, showing up in bars and some smoothie mixes because it’s nutrient rich and contains the necessary amino acids. We’re also including pumpkin flour here because as another example of sustainability in the natural food space.

  1. Health Warrior Pumpkin Seed Bars – Health Warrior pushed beyond chia, into pumpkin seeds, with sweet SKUs, and even savory honey cracked pepper with turmeric.
  2. Glean Goodness Pumpkin Flour – Glean Goodness gives “ugly” veg that would normally be discarded a second chance by turning it into flour.
  3. Sprout Living Pumpkin Seed Powder – Pumpkin Seed is 100% pure, single ingredient powder made from cold-pressed, nutrient-rich pumpkin seeds. It is ultra-clean, entirely hypoallergenic and a perfect source of plant protein.

Cricket Protein. With the rise in awareness about sustainable protein sources (especially when it comes to traditional animal protein sources), cricket protein is rising in popularity. To make the same amount of protein, crickets require a tiny fraction of the water that cows, chickens, and pigs require and emit 1% of the greenhouses gases that cows do, making this a very attractive protein source.

  1. Crickstart – With bars, crackers and smoothie mixes, this Canadian company is taking cricket as an ingredient to the next level. With added benefits like being a good source of B12, Magnesium and Iron, these products can be considered a well-rounded snack.
  2. Cricket Protein Bar – Protein bars made with 100% cricket protein, combined with only real food ingredients, formulated by Michelin-star rated chefs. Available in flavors like Apple Cinnamon, Blueberry Vanilla and Banana Bread.
  3. Flourish Farm Vermont – 100% cricket protein powder, whole crispy crickets, dog and cat chews with tasty cricket protein, and Flourish Farm apparel for your whole tribe.

Renee’s Pick: Peckish Eggs – Peckish makes snacking on eggs on-the-go a breeze, and tasty! A package contains two eggs and a crunchy topping. Varieties include Eggs & “Rancheros,”” Eggs & “Maple Waffles,” Eggs & “Fried Rice,” Eggs & “Salt & Pepitas,” and Eggs & “Everything.” I think the packaging will have strong stopping-power with consumers, and that they’ll appreciate the whole food, high protein and high flavor option for active lives.

Molly’s Pick: Good Catch – This alternative form of seafood was talked about a TON at Expo West, but actually made its debut at Expo East. With tuna salads, tuna rolls and tuna sandwiches all made from plant-based “tuna.” I am so impressed by the company’s commitment to making a product that looks, tastes and feels like the real thing.