Session Descriptions - Innovation & Growth Leadership Summit

Food Innovation: Recipes for Change  Quinault Childs, Research Manager, Institute for the Future (IFTF), Food Futures Lab

Quinault Childs will share IFTF’s groundbreaking Food Innovation: Recipes for the Next Decade.  He’ll discuss how technology and social innovations will shape food, wellbeing, and resilience in the next decade, including such topics as:

  • New technologies that will support food choices, and the implications for trust and loyalty
  • Emerging approaches for engagement with food, food companies, and food systems
  • What today’s leading-edge eaters tell us about tomorrow’s new markets and offerings
  • How eaters will make tradeoffs between price, convenience, taste, and need for food system transformation
  • How social media influencers, shopping bots and new tastemakers such as algorithms and chefs—will shape food choices and define food experiences

Collaborating with Food Entrepreneurs: A New Model for Starting and Scaling Up Business  Jen Faigel, Executive Director and Co-Founder, CommonWealth Kitchen (CWK)

At an exclusive Fireside Chat with Cheryl Perkins, Jen Faigel will discuss a comprehensive model for starting and scaling up food companies— providing shared kitchens combined with integrated business and technical training, connections with buyers and distributors, connections with capital providers, and small-batch manufacturing. She’ll cover:

  • Change management— how to innovate within the construct of large institutions and corporations that are not able to be nimble and respond to the rapid changes happening in the market.
  • Experimentation and quick wins.
  • The rise of food incubators and accelerators– like Chobani, Barilla, ACCEL Foods, FOOD-X, and the proliferation of investment funds for new brands.
  • Building diverse networks across the supply chain–including farms, aggregators, distributors, buyers, etc.
  • Understanding demand and market gaps.
  • Specific opportunities to collaborate with CWK food entrepreneurs

Keynote: Macro-Trends and Multisensorial Experiences Driving Innovation Across Industries  Karen Stanton, Director, Global Marketing & Branding, International Flavors & Fragrances

“Can you smell what I see?” This interactive session will reveal some of today’s most exciting macro-trends including how scent and taste experiences are reinventing future products. As Global Marketing & Branding Director for IFF Flavors group, Karen Stanton plays an instrumental role in identifying new growth opportunities, designing innovation pathways, and partnering with industry leaders in the development of future foresights.

She will share:

  • Examples of 5-senses brand engagement from wearables, Agritech, and AI
  • Future health, wellness, and multisensorial experiences
  • Global case studies of disruptive innovation

She will then lead an interactive brainstorming activity to help you translate these trends into strategic, sustainable innovation in action for your company.

Leadership Before Innovation – Four Key Ingredients  Steph Barry, Managing Director, Global Market Development, Solatube International, Inc.

Everyone agrees that successful innovation goes beyond new ideas. It is the ability to continuously generate growth in a fast-changing, dispersed, competitive, and complex global marketplace. Studies show that only 10-15% of ‘innovation’ programs are effective long term – instead we see one-hit wonders, base hits, the occasional home run.  Innovation Leadership doesn’t just manage; they foster sustainable and successful innovation by creating a culture in which new ideas thrive and people deliver.

This talk will focus on four key ingredients of Innovation Leadership and how to cultivate them. They differ from those of leadership with innovation as follows:

  1. Visionary vs. Sharing A Vision: Innovation leaders create a vision with purpose where people feel secure, confident, see themselves in where you are going and their creativity comes out.
  2. Diversity vs. Inclusion: Beyond words, the Innovation Leader creates an environment that respects and harnesses the richness of different perspectives and experiences bringing about the best possible outcome.
  3. Them vs Us: They rely on collaboration, trust and openness to develop products that change the world
  4. ‘In’ vs Integrity: Innovation leadership leaves ego, arrogance and short-term results at the door favoring honor, duty and sustainable organizational objectives to yield higher returns.

Steph Barry will draw on her own experience as an impactful leader in large, complex organizations. She will share insights, case examples, and how-to’s as well as answer your questions.

Panel: Critical Enablers That Must Be Carefully Managed – Process and Culture Herman So, Vice President, Kent Corporation; Dennis Reimer, CEO, Midwest Specialty Products; and Mary Witte, Surpless Dunn & Co. Inc.

You can develop the best innovation strategy in the world, and it will fail if people aren’t on board. At the same time, buy-in takes more than just telling folks what to do. Resistance and fear must be eased, incentives and support must be offered. Dennis Reimer believes in empowering employees to be engaged so they provide highly responsive, relationship-oriented customer care. Herman So guides corporate-wide innovation efforts and resource allocation recommendations to accelerate growth across all Kent subsidiaries. Mary Witte has a broad background in manufacturing combined with exceptional organizational and interpersonal skills. In this interactive Q&A session, Dennis, Herman and Mary will share what works (and what does not) to motivate and get the best from people. Bring your questions – and your headaches; Dennis, Herman and Mary will advise.

Keynote: Bringing Product Sales to New Heights in the Age of Amazon Rohan Thambrahalii, President and Managing Partner, The Upstart Group

Rohan Thambrahalii is a visionary business leader who has deep expertise in ecommerce, distribution and retail as well as relationships with Amazon,, Home Depot, Ace Hardware, Grainger, Dillard’s, Target, and more.  Having built world class brands and exceptional revenue growth for numerous companies, his keynote will focus on how to achieve greater sales and distribution in the age of Amazon. He will share specific how-to’s from their Amazon playbook, including:

  • Amazon Vendor Central, Seller Central, Brand Registry, Amazon Business (Discounts, RFQ)
  • Tiered Pricing Operational Compliance & Chargebacks
  • Inventory Forecasting
  • New Item Setup
  • Merchandising, Promotions/Prime Day, Brand Page Creation, Amazon Store Creation

He will also discuss tools, such as data analytics, and strategies that provide greater insight into buyer needs and trends. Amazon’s impact reaches far and wide and its influence is only getting bigger. If you don’t have an Amazon strategy, you’re not only missing growth opportunities – you’re risking obsolescence.

How to Create Insight-Led Growth Opportunities: Finding Unmet Needs, Defining the Right Problem to Solve  Anna Husk, Global Insights Director, Professional Products Division, The Clorox Company 

Guiding strategy as well as building insights capability for Clorox’s B2B businesses, Anna Husk has contributed to the launch of many significant innovations over the years. In this presentation, she will share her thoughts on translating consumer needs into successful business propositions and strategic choices. She will talk about her own role and the framework she uses to identify the right opportunities for Clorox. Specifically, she will share:

  • The importance of creating insight-led business propositions (and why insight needs a seat at the table).
  • How leveraging three lenses will help define the most meaningful problems to solve and lead to better growth opportunities:     1) Ensuring the consumer has a voice in the process, even in B2B; 2) Bringing the outside in to challenge scope and boundaries and connect with your consumer perspective, and 3) Thinking ahead to understand how the business landscape and your customer are evolving

She will also offer advice and examples of how to bring everything together and know whether or not you’ve found the right opportunities for your business.