Case Story: Transforming & Building an Innovation Pipeline for an Iconic Spirits Brand Through a Multi-Phase Accelerator | The Garage Group


In the face of past struggles to sustainably fill the innovation pipeline with authentic, breakthrough ideas that didn’t dilute the brand, a team from an iconic spirits brand along with leadership from The Garage Group set out to simultaneously transform their approach, set the strategic architecture, and fill the innovation pipeline with big, brand-building ideas.


We began with macro trend sensing to identify key cultural shifts that could inspire innovation that would be relevant over a long period of time, and identified four relevant macro trends.

We then dove into social media ethnography, smart desk research, and digital ethnographic research to narrow and define specific opportunity areas. Examples and manifestations of those trends and opportunity spaces drove focus for exploration and idea generation.

Next, we led the multi-functional team through a lively 2-day Ideation and Idea Development Sprint. Inspired by expert interviews and curated trends and analogs, the team diverged in groups to generate and explore consumer relevant directions for the brand, and specific product ideas to bring those directions to life.

Real-time consumer feedback allowed them to rapidly iterate and define ideas. The team identified five top directions, entrepreneurially developed them each into dramatic “Shark Tank” style pitches, followed by a competitive pitch presentation.

To continue to refine early ideas, we leveraged our Lean Concept Development approach, optimizing ideas by iterating across twelve consumer interviews. The team emerged with five concepts to take to prediction market to be quickly and quantitatively tested.

Consumers were then asked to “predict the success” of the concepts via a prediction market test. As participants choose ideas they thought were more likely to be successful, they allocated a number of tokens based on their perception of the strength of each idea.


Four out of the five concepts tested outscored the “high likelihood of success” (85%+) mark, most of them actually scoring well over 90% likelihood of success --three of the ideas proceeded straight to creative and product development briefing within a week after our session. Along with winning concepts, a new strategic architecture emerged, which will support future innovation efforts and nicely house the new ideas. And, the team is excited about how they were able to build the foundation for ongoing innovation via this new approach, and the entrepreneurial leadership skills to sustain it.

"The Garage Group team was an incredible enabler! The process was definitely entrepreneurial in terms of access to quick tools and knowledge, but, felt premium and polished in execution -- which fits nicely in our culture. Seeing the trends, combined with speaking with experts, and interacting with consumers as quickly as we did helped us see and connect things in new ways. The Garage Group didn’t push a solution on us, but enabled us to discover and embrace the destination on our own, which will benefit us way beyond this project.”
Biba Konieczna-Sano VP, Global Brand Director, Jack Daniel's RTD and Innovation Ι Brown-Forman