How Big Companies Can Take Cues from Small Companies on Product Innovation

PlantBased Solutions COO Daniel Karsevar talks product innovation:

Daniel Karsevar COO of PlantBased Solutions
What do small companies bring to the table that big companies do not (with regard to innovation)?

Daniel: Small companies are driven by an entrepreneurial mind-set – one of optimism and confidence in their brand. This confidence is based on real-time feedback, by which I mean that small companies are passionate about their concept, products, and brand, and adjust in real-time based on internal and external feedback. This allows for innovation trial & error that reacts to marketplace data with great speed and agility.

What do you see as the pros and cons of companies doing product development in-house vs. out-of-house?

Daniel: Large companies are often confined by a risk-averse mentality that permeates most corporations. For example – I worked on product development with a Fortune 500 company that specifically asked for innovative products. When presented with ingredient trends and new flavor options, the committee responded by saying that, after holding three separate meetings over a two week period, the consensus was that the, “cauliflower was a bit polarizing.”
Smaller companies see that the market is primed for innovation within categories, global flavors, and new ingredients, and respond quickly by providing consumers new and exciting products. They embrace the fact that some of these products are indeed polarizing, and in doing so create a passionate fan base.

What are some key takeaways that big companies can learn from small companies on innovation?

Daniel: The entrepreneur has a passion for his/her product that is so strong it becomes infectious to everyone around. Innovation cannot happen by committee. Sadly, aiming to make everyone happy in the decision-making process – as large companies are apt to do – often results in less-interesting products and flavor SKUs. Like a small company, a large brand needs a brand leader who has the vision of the brand and who alone is the arbiter of what is on-brand.

When PlantBased Solutions is hired by a company for product innovation – what are some of the factors that go into the process?

Daniel: We at PlantBased Solutions come to the table with a background of entrepreneurship, culinary innovation, and operational expertise. This approach allows us to truly understand your brand in a cohesive and integrated manner.
First we do a deep dive into understanding and defining (as necessary) the truest sense of your brand and your target consumer. We look at the marketplace and analyze the category segments & competitive sets, looking for the “white-space” in the market where a brand and product will stand out from the crowd. We first understand the industry trends related to ingredients, flavor profiles, nutritional panel, and certifications – along with cost of goods and manufacturing – and then develop a product to fit your brand, the marketplace, and your core consumer.

Whether you are a start-up, established brand or international company – PlantBased Solutions has something to help you develop, launch and scale.

Interested in scheduling a time to learn about how PlantBased Solutions can help your company with product innovation? Sign up today for your consultation.

PlantBased Solutions is on the move and coming to a conference near you – check out our events page and learn about where our Founder and CEO David Benzaquen and COO, Daniel Karsevar will be speaking next.

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