Lisa McTigue Pierce, Executive Editor

March 11, 2015

3 Min Read
CPG leaders: Humility and "platforms" key to packaging innovation success



Pack Expo conference attendees packed into the "Meet the Press: CPG Perspectives on Packaging Trends" session on Monday, Nov. 1, to hear insights from a magnificent panel of seven packaging leaders. Here's a taste of what they shared about innovation:


Rich Hollander, VP, packaging services, Pfizer: "We don't do enough of innovation. The only way we're going to accelerate innovation is to collaborate. It's going out and finding who the thought leaders are, who is doing the most amount of innovation that might not pertain directly to your business. You cannot go into the innovation process thinking that you're going to be first to market with everything. You need to be humble and look around to steal ideas and see how you can match them to your business and still respect everybody's [intellectual property]."


CPG leaders: Humility and “platforms” key to packaging innovation success

Joe Keller, packaging section head, Procter & Gamble: "One-off ideas are nice, but we need to see platform-type innovations, things we can reapply across businesses. Sometimes the one-off ideas aren't worth the effort to implement them."


Michael Okoroafor, VP packaging, Heinz: "Open innovation is about looking beyond the traditional places. Technologies don't begin and end in North America. These days, the world is flat. So we look for technologies everywhere."


Sarah Grare, director, packaging innovation, Stryker Orthopaedics: "Stay close to [customer] complaints. Read through them. It's not uncommon for the people in the quality organization to miscategorize a packaging problem. Look for trends. Look to see what you can do to make small improvements to make your packaging better."


Perfecto Perales, director, packaging R&D, Kraft Foods: "It isn't about [doing] more with less. It's about doing more with more. Some of our biggest wins have been how do we change the package to drive the [consumer] insights. The IP is really out there for you to leverage. If you start with the consumer first, and then go with what you know, it makes it a lot easier."


Denise Lefebvre, director, packaging innovation, PepsiCo: "Hire people who are going to think differently from you, act differently, be from different areas. And then really wrap the whole area in inclusiveness behavior so people bring the right ideas to work and they don't have to worry about repercussions on what they're thinking."


Rob Weick, VP packaging, ConAgra: "We're talking about cost savings and innovation as two different things. But cost savings is innovation. It's looking at, in a nonlinear fashion, what do you need to do to drive the cost out. Oftentimes, those are the things that are true innovations in terms of thought processes and how you approach and tackle the issues. That's another way to look at innovation."


More insights from these leaders on sustainability, cost containment and new materials research will be shared in our December issue.



About the Author(s)

Lisa McTigue Pierce

Executive Editor, Packaging Digest

Lisa McTigue Pierce is Executive Editor of Packaging Digest. She’s been a packaging media journalist since 1982 and tracks emerging trends, new technologies, and best practices across a spectrum of markets for the publication’s global community. Reach her at [email protected] or 630-272-1774.

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