Innovation in Fear based Cultures – off trend

Black Lion

As a trend watcher I have noticed how often a conversation moves to” how important innovation is”. But very little conversation on ensuring you have a workplace culture that enables innovation. Forget the couches, funky paint on wall etc, if the culture is incorrect – innovation will not flourish.

Please enjoy this wonderful article from Michael Graber

why hire lions to be dogs?

Command-and-control, top-down organizations have the most trouble innovating.

In particular, the fearful mindsets that review, align, and sign off on “decks” to be presented to Vice President-level colleagues often edit out the insights and recommendations that have the power to grow the business in new ways.

These well-trained, obedient keepers of the status quo are rewarded for not taking risks and for not thinking outside of the existing paradigm of the business.

When we are assigned fretful, career-minded people to project teams we know that we must spend half of our time reorienting such people. Otherwise, the innovation project will implode under such fears as what will they think, can we give a preview to the VP of No, or how does this effect my bonus?

Notice that all of the above thinking conveys a myopic internally-focused view—and is contrary to where innovations tend to be discovered, namely in the market and with real people. This mindset lacks the exploratory and inquisitive nature required to break new ground and create new value.

Curiosity and openness are key prerequisites for this kind of work. A discovery process must be undertaken. Often, the output of an innovation project cannot be imagined beforehand; the findings can only be unveiled as the journey unfolds. Without open-minded exploration, possible solutions will be suffocated in infancy—and not nurtured to reach their potential.

Equally critical to success, if you want to become an innovative company, your employees will need to be doing some of the work themselves.

You cannot outsource this type of work and expect lasting results, just as your mountain Sherpa cannot actually walk for you and make a movie of the adventure for you to show at home. Your team has to experience the alchemy of change. Otherwise, they—and your organization—will not be able to accept new thinking about the business. This point may sound small, but it is the biggest impediment to developing and deploying innovation.

If you are in a rigid and fixed system, innovation by design is impossible.

If you want to be able to innovate on a level deeper than cost cutting, stop with all of the small actions that seek to present only perfection up the food chain. Practice presenting work in different formats and in different stages of development. In other words, innovate how presentations to those in leadership positions are conducted.

To enter this Growth Mindset means to encourage your people to take risks, embrace possible failure, and aim for an ambitious goal. If the whole system of your culture rewards incremental thinking and has a bias for data, change the game. Set up the expectations of the meetings differently. Be and signify change. Remember, if you are tasked with innovation, you are hired to transform, not inform.

Why assign a lion to be a dog?

Change, or don’t bother. As it has been said of advertising the same is true in this field: companies get the innovation results they deserve.

Michael Graber is the managing partner of the Southern Growth Studio, an innovation and strategic growth firm based in Memphis, TN and the author ofGoing Electric. Visit to learn more.


FT 3 In Innovation remember the customer

Sometimes old fashioned wisdom is like that of a much sort after pearl. It comes from chafing and discontent. But leads to a thing of beauty. Please enjoy this little pearl.

There are many business words that get over used. One of them with great popularity at the moment is innovation. Another is disruption.

Innovation is the process of innovating or a new method idea or product. At the moment disruptive innovation is a buzz word, think Uber think Wikipedia, CDs and maybe iPhone(smartphone).

Innovation comes in many guises from research and development, product development, process improvement and systems refinement. But if these forget the the end point in mind – Your Customer and their needs. Then business success is not guaranteed.

The article below discuss’s the aspects of value and provides a wonderful value pyramid, displaying customers needs. For those in food , quality & sensory are basic needs but trending in importance in food is wellness and therapeutic effect.

The level of wellness and therapeutic affect in terms of customers needs has been cleverly captured in the very good article in HBR. The iPhone and Samsung Galaxy phone may not have yet created self transcendence for customers but they have certainly reached the level of customers feeling affiliation and belonging to ‘their group’.

30 Things Customers Loveoyster

Food Trends 2. Food Service – foams are out smoke is in


I enjoy seeing food trends move from restaurants into the food service sector or QSR.  But on trend that might not make the leap was the trend for foams and gels on your restaurant plate.  Foams and gels are now considered yesteryear and will be seen less on your restaurant plate. Foams and gels can make you lose focus of what food really is – which is taste.

So what are restaurant chefs indicating will be in taste on the menu this winter. They indicate that summer is coming indoors.BBQ flavours are a big trend , and out of that trend comes Smoke Flavours.  At restaurants they may have time to get the BBQ smoking or even light that smoker but if you are in QSR the key might be flavours.  Smoke flavours are created by a distillation process this creates oil soluble smoke flavours or water soluble smoke flavours.

The other big trend is southern American BBQ flavours. BBQ flavours tend to be created by spice combinations, often involving chilies but also spices and herbs.

BBQ rubs are popular in restaurants and at home, lets look forward to potential new blends on the menu

  • Texas BBQ rub
  • Jamaican Jerk blend
  • African Harissa
  • Ghost Pepper
  • African Dukka

If you are interested in the history of spices this is a great sight to read.

McCormicks History of Spices

McCormicks has also advised the summer of 2016 will be about incorporating smokey, spicy flavours. That BBQs and grills are hot.

Below is a brief list of BBQ flavours. A great site for US BBQ sauce variants is at the end.

  • Kansas BBQ flavour
  • Alabama White Sauce
  • Kentucky Black Sauce
  • Bermudean Hot BBQ sauce with pineapple
  • Brazilian BBQ sauce with malagueta chiles
  • Carribean Citrus Mango with a hint of rum.
  • US BBQ regional sauces

Last but not least and one that is frequently made in our house is the Argentinian Chimichuri sauce.

Another trend showing up in restaurants near you are offerings beyond a beef steak, now seen frequently venison steak, fish steaks, and my favourite vegetable steaks. This combined with BBQ or smoke notes is sure to excite the tastes buds this winter.

When *Metro magazine advises “the food du jour is smoked and spicy beef” then you know smoke is on its way in.

2007 11 03 Autumn 038


*Metro Magazine May 2016

Food Trends 1. Hot Stuff

Hot SauceAlways interested in new food trends,  I was inspired to see Hot Chutneys and Imperfect pickles identified as trending in 2016.  Think spicy green tomato, carrot and mustard seed chutney. Red Chilli Chutney, Green Chilli and Coconut Chutney. A great way to add flavour is to use spices, but ensure you have a good quality supply. The other option for new development is to look at spice oleresins.

Pickles have seen a renaissance with the Korean Kimchi pickle a restaurant favourite. Popular pickles are now merging Asian influences with the British a good example is Sweet Pickled Daikon Shreds.

Sweet Pickle Daikon recipe

Hot trends that are definitely hot this June are new cuts of meat, be they old fashioned cuts such as Beef cheeks. Or my recent favourite Venison paired with a Kimchi Pickle. For some great Kimchi ideas please check out this Serious Eats site.

Kimchi and what to make

Sourcing locally is important to consumers and part of this is fish from sustainable sources. Locally sourced vegetables are also on trend. Kohlrabi and Kale are now found in your supermarket not just at the farmers market.

Vege pledges are economic and a potential for food businesses to tap into – that new vegetable sauce accompaniment. Meat free Mondays could become a food innovation for developers. A meal solution where you just add your own vegetables. But please a bit more exciting then cheese sauce!

Anathoth Farm Hot Chilli Relish



Food Trends: Coffee Secrets


Feeling secretly guilty over that third or fourth cup a coffee today. Many of us resort to coffee as a morning kick start to our day, an afternoon pick me up and scarily a nightcap after dinner. But fear not, coffee drinkers take heart – literally. It is known that coffee lowers the risk of heart disease and heart attack. Now the latest is research indicating it may have a protective effect against multiple sclerosis (MS).

“We observed a significant association between high consumption of coffee and decreased risk of developing MS,” the researchers, led by Anna Hedström, a doctoral student in environmental medicine at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden wrote in the meta-analysis study, published March 3 in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.

To all of us coffee lovers this is good news, the research shows that people drinking a larger amount of coffee were less likely to develop MS by a third. Individuals who drank more than 4 cups a day had a 29% lower risk of MS than those that did not drink coffee.  The current meta-analysis is great due to its large sample size of 3960 without MS and an international group of participants.

For those that love science it is the antioxidant caffeic acid and  chlorogenic acid that are found in coffee that may provide the protective effect of coffee for many health benefits. The high antioxidant activity in coffee lowers oxidative effects in the body.

So guilty coffee drinkers take heart. As coffee has been shown to be highly protective for the cardiovascular system. The caffeine in coffee has been shown to improve the health of blood vessels. It increases nitric oxide production which improves vascular muscle tone. Coffee does not raise blood pressure but over a longer term actually lowers blood pressure.

So coffee drinkers celebrate and enjoy all those wonderful new single source coffee beans. Thanks to passive aggressive for the cartoon.


Food Trends 2016: Whats new in Feb lets be imperfect


Always interested in the so called new food trends,  I was excited to see Wabi sabi identified as hot in 2016. Transience and imperfection in food is almost the opposite to all our teachings as a product development person. Maybe those Chefs in culinology are starting to win the battle.

Vege pledges and and hot stuff sound like a fun year ahead. Maybe the Chinese year of the monkey is appropriate as its sounds like food is going to be fun in 2016.  Bit uncertain about trash to table but you could no worse than listen to a Food Trash chef for some inspiration. Go ahead and feast on these articles.

AustralianFood Bone Broth trash to table

Wastecooking with chef



Sustainable Fishing -not mainstream!

Are you feeling sorry for MPI or like at lot of other’s out there not! You can understand why its hard to be both police and industry champion at the same time, but its seems Industry champion is possibly winning in the MPI role.

It has just been announced that the company that was awarded the rights to set up surveillance on NZ Fishing boats is partly owned by two NZ fishing companies. Does something smell fishy here?

A leaked MPI report revealed that 20% and possibly up to 100% of some fishing catches were illegally dumped at sea. What goes on in Timaru Port seems to be a case of yet another of MPIs failures.

Dare we start with poor Hectors dolphins, who suffer badly with old fashioned gillnet fishing and trawling in what should be a reserve for Hectors.

The future forward is not all doom and gloom and if the innovation shown below was picked up by more in the fishing industry, those in business would be showing they are leaders. I was impressed at the concept that fishing could finally become sustainable. To often scientists/ food industry have bad press.

Here is the link to a sea change in fishing.

Precision Seafood Sustainable FishingDolphins