Earlier this year, we shared highlights from the first half of 2014.
As 2014 comes to a close, we’re thankful for all the tremendous experiences we’ve had this year. Here are ten, quick highlights we thought we’d share from the second half of 2014. Looking forward to continuing to build our story with you in 2015!
1. Grew Our Team And Established An Advisory Board
We hired Renee Murphy as Director of Research Innovation and are looking to continue to grow our team early next year. We also recently established an Advisory Board that we’ll kick off next year, and that will serve as a strong enabler to our sustained growth as a company. We’re looking forward to formally announcing the Board in early January.
2. Took An Entrepreneurial Approach to the Front-end of the Innovation Process for a CPG Client
Our multi-functional client team wanted to take their home fragrance brand to the next level with a portfolio of innovative initiatives that meet consumer needs and delight consumers with new experiences. We took an entrepreneurial approach to their challenge, from identification of 4 need areas, to generation of 100s of ideas, development of 12 initiative pitches & optimization of 6 consumer concepts. With positive consumer response, the team created two short-term, 2 mid-term and 1 longer-term initiative proposals to take forward to management. Check out slide 18 to learn more.
3. Introduced A Lean Approach to Package and Concept Development & Optimization
Our client needed a leaner but more effective approach to develop and optimize concept and packaging elements for a short-term initiative. We jumped in, collaborated with the multi-functional team to set objectives, parameters, conduct a super quick recruit of articulate, qualified respondents and then ran two rounds of dynamic, iterative, uber-efficient webcam interviews, assessing, tweaking and optimizing as we went. The result was stronger package and concept direction and a confident team ready to move into quantitative testing and further collateral development.
4. Reinvigorated a Struggling Brand With Marketing Innovation Ideas
Faced with a significant amount of adversity, our client team needed to quickly come up with a pipeline of marketing innovation ideas to push their brand into new consumer relevant need/benefit spaces while remaining consistent with the core value proposition of their product. In just under two months, we took an entrepreneurial approach to their challenge from identification of multiple need areas via retailer and consumer interviews, generation of 100s of completely new ideas inspired by analogs, development of 9 initiative pitches & rapid optimization of 6 consumer concepts.
5. Created and Optimized A Good-For-You Food Concept
We applied our lean, entrepreneurial approach to develop truly consumer centric ideas for a good-for-you new food idea. Enabled by a team of experienced, and un-biased writers; a series of fast paced one-on-one consumer interactions (via webcam); and iterative concept adaptations between interviews, within 2 days, and across 15 individual interviews, we assessed and optimized our 6 draft concepts into to 4 testably different concepts, all with strong appeal and differentiation versus competitive products. The client was thrilled and progressed quickly to a quantitative test based on our recommendation and report. The whole process took just a couple of weeks — from project kick-off, through concept drafts, research and final recommendations.
6. Brought “New” To A Crowded Category
Our multi-functional client team wanted to take their two core brands to the next level, extend into new formats, and gain share in a crowded category with a portfolio of innovative initiatives that meet consumer needs. In under three months, we took an entrepreneurial approach to their challenge, from identification of need areas for both brands across multiple client segments, to generation of 100s of ideas inspired by trends and analogs, development of 12 initiative pitches & optimization of 7 consumer concepts.
And we’ve been working passionately to put a dent in our region’s innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem:
7. Organized and Spoke at the Inaugural ProductCamp Cincinnati
Jason was part of the organizing team that brought the first ProductCamp to Cincinnati. The event was a great success as it created a platform for the collision of ideas and people from a cross-section of our Cincinnati ecosystem who are passionate about building great products. Ann and Renee talked on “Don’t be Uncle Rico: Leverage Empathy and Learning to Build & Sell Kick Ass Products, Services & Ideas.”
8. Taught Startup Weekend Attendees About Smart & Scrappy Learning
Jason and Renee talked at Startup Weekend Miami and Startup Weekend Cincinnati on Smart & Scrappy Learning. As we’ve mentioned before, We love Startup Weekend events because they provide a learning-by-doing platform for ideating, researching and then pitching a new idea; expanding networks; the opportunity to meet and vet potential cofounders or partners; access to thought leaders; and the opportunity to launch an actual business in just 54 hours.
9. Created and Led Training For Entrepreneurs In The Community
Ann led the development of a training curriculum through Unpolished (a collaborative effort designed to Encourage, Educate and Engage aspiring entrepreneurs within Cincinnati and Crossroads Community Church) to equip and enable three groups of entrepreneurs: those who are thinking about starting a business, those in their first few years, and those that want to continue to grow mature businesses. Working with an amazing team of other volunteers, she piloted the free training for about 100 participants from around the community with businesses ranging from non-profit teen centers to personal trainers to pay-as-you-go bakeries and real estate development companies. It was truly humbling as executives and entrepreneurs from across the region participated as trainers and mentors.
10. Lent our Leadership, Expertise & Passion
Jason was elected the VP of Innovation for the for Cincinnati PDMA Chapter. He’ll be collaborating with PDMA board members & other organizations to help enhance and extend core PDMA offerings as well helping to lead the Cincinnati Chapter into new ways of serving the community.
Jason and Ann also became mentors at OCEAN Accelerator.
And finally, our team continues to stay connected with local universities & students:
Stay connected via the following social channels (LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter) for updates as we continue to grow, partner with more clients and launch new capabilities out of our garage! And finally, we’re hiring. Interested in joining our team?