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Execs: Go outside for fresh ideas on packaging innovation

 

 

This is an excerpt from the session "Meet the Press: CPG Perspective on Packaging Trends" that Packaging Digest directed at Pack Expo 2010.

 

 

PD: When it comes to packaging innovation, how do you attract new ideas and new players who are also flexible?

 

Sarah Grare, director, packaging innovation, Stryker Orthopaedics: You can't be afraid to hire somebody who has experience outside of your industry. With medical devices, we're always so convinced that, if you've never done it before, you can never do it. I'm sure it probably is the same in food and pharma as well. Sometimes you need to get fresh blood in and understand what someone else has accomplished outside of your industry. That's the best way to grow and innovate.

 

Denise Lefebvre, director, packaging innovation, PepsiCo: I just went through this. 18 months ago, Pepsi announced they were going to create all new research functions. I was one of the people that was put in. When I started, there was no one else. There was me. We had to do an extensive amount of hiring talent outside, which I did in other roles, too.

 

The point is exactly that: 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. Then you get the most creative places together.

 

Because, a lot of times I find in our industry, if you did packaging for food, you can do packaging for food. The guy in cosmetics doesn't really want to look at you, which is really such a shame. I could probably think of whole new ideas that they haven't thought of before because I'm coming from a different industry, a different way. That's one of the things I think is missing is that willing to flex and adaptability based on background.

 

Joe Keller, packaging section head, Procter & Gamble: For P&G, we tend to acquire companies at a reasonable rate. So we get fresh blood that way. Obviously, feeling part of the team and being integrated is key to making sure they perform to their top level. As well as make sure they feel free to bring forward those different ideas. 

 

 

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