Blood, beer, sweat and tears
The following has been contributed by disruptive capability expert and former global innovation director at Foster’s Group, Mark Truelson.
I JOINED THE INNOVATION TEAM AT FOSTER’S at a tumultuous time. It was following a disastrous foray within our product innovations and the launch of a product called Empire, which the business invested ten million dollars into launching. The product development was a very secretive thing and Foster’s widely believed that Empire was going to transform the business. Yet it was a massive flop.
At the time, CUB felt a lot of pressure to show to the market that it wasn’t a behemoth that couldn’t move with the times. It had to show some agility, so the CEO told us we had to launch a new product in 90 days. That was the brief I got on my first day as innovation manager in the Foster’s team. I soon found out that even though the CEO wanted a new product turnaround in 90 days, the rest of the business didn’t want it.
A lot of them had put in blood, sweat and tears into Empire, and all were scarred by the experience. A lot of people got blamed for its failure. Because of that scarring, no-one wanted to help me and I was a bit naive about being in a corporate — I’d come from a background where getting things done within innovation is a team sport.
In my role I was not a creative person but a networker and project lead to make sure I had people on my team who would fight for the cause. It was an underground operation and ...