FEI Europe had the opportunity to ask Luke Mansfield, Vice President, Innovation, Global Beverage Group at PepsiCo, some questions beforehand.
FEI Europe: Hello Luke, please introduce yourself and tell us about your job at PepsiCo
Luke Mansfield: I’m Luke and I lead Innovation at PepsiCo. In essence my team is focused on developing the beverages platforms of tomorrow.
FEI Europe: What are your current tasks and innovation challenges?
Luke Mansfield: Our Innovation challenge is similar to everyone’s. That’s because we focus on the consumer. Whilst industries have their idiosyncrasies the consumer is the same. PepsiCo is an extraordinary company, but that can sometimes make Innovation harder. We’re incredibly efficient which means any Innovation by definition introduces inefficiencies. This is why we focus on premium Innovations. Great examples of this are our new platforms LifeWTR, IZZE and ‘Lemon Lemon’. Consumer tastes are changing fast and something which in the 90’s would have taken a decade to travel can now be a global trend within a year. We’ve had to learn to become a lot more nimble.
FEI Europe: Tell us about your talk: You are going to present a new approach for “simpler” innovation. How does your innovation process look like?
Luke Mansfield: It’s interesting that this is how you interpreted the title. It’s actually the opposite. In my experience, a simple process leads to a complex outcome. Only solving real business issues gets to simple outcomes. To launch a new product around the world our whole business needed to evolve. From supply chain to procurement, design, R&D and marketing. Everyone needed to find a new way to work. When I say simple I mean simple for the consumer, not for us. We don’t compromise on the consumer experience which means a lot of complexity behind the scenes.
FEI Europe: Since the conference’s topic is “adapt & disrupt”. How do you manage to be disruptive while sticking to the company’s core business?
Luke Mansfield: That’s a great question and it differs a lot by industry. During my time at Samsung it wasn’t a worry. We knew today’s products would not be the same in 5 years so disruption is the DNA. At PepsiCo we have brands and products that people have enjoyed for 100 years. That doesn’t go away, and it’s a powerful base to innovate from. I’d like to flip the question though and look at another of our new launches, ‘Lemon Lemon’. It began life as a delicious natural forward lemonade under 7Up in Europe. Our ambition grew as we developed it and we decided ‘Lemon Lemon’ would be a lot more. It’s now a standalone new brand in the USA. The difference between disruption and something incremental is often defined more by our ambition for than anything intrinsic within the product.
FEI Europe: What do you think will change in the near future when it comes to innovation?
Luke Mansfield: I can tell you what I think should change. I hear a lot about how corporations must be more like entrepreneurs and I agree. On how we do this I often disagree. An average entrepreneur is resource constrained, focused and driven. They use resources judiciously and invest a lot of themselves into their work. Many large companies see scale as an impediment to Innovation but I see it differently. If we gave that entrepreneur access to our resources, imagine what they would do. At PepsiCo that’s how we look at it. Embrace resources, scale and influence as a competitive advantage. A question I would ask anyone setting out on an Innovation journey is ‘do you love your products and brands enough?’ because if you don’t, why should anyone else? Also, how will you have the fortitude to push through the barriers you’ll inevitably face if it’s not passion that drives you? We love our brands and we love our products. I can’t countenance a future where they’re not part of the conversation. That’s what drives us to evolve and re-invent them for the next generation.
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