Last Thursday, June 18th, we added another edition to our series of international webinars as we delved into open innovation in the food industry, to discover and analyse the benefits of startups and corporates working together.
In our latest episode “Accelerating the growth of the Food Industry: The power of open innovation” we were lucky enough to host Sejal Ravji, Director of Open Innovation at Calidad Pascual ; Maria Paula Rios, Director of Innovation and Strategy at Team Foods and José Luis Cabañero, CEO and Founder of Eatable Adventures, who shared their visions and insights from their professional experiences with open innovation.
Here are the key takeaways from the webinar in case you missed it:
Constant changes in the agri-food sector
For Sejal Ravji, one of the changing aspects in the agri-food space is the introduction of technology, and with it comes the need to develop innovation quickly and efficiently. “Technology is accelerating all changes. The great challenge now is to predict where the changes are going and where value is generated in the ecosystem. It is in this space where innovation is born”, he stated.
José Luis Cabañero, who said that there has been a wave of disruptive new startups in the past few years, commented that “they are daring to develop new models with technology, such as artificial intelligence, which can be very beneficial for companies who want to present a unique and differentiating product.”
For María Paula Ríos, “Big companies have to start looking outside of their own teams to challenge themselves. We have begun to realize that those companies, which have a longer history, have to look beyond where there is greater knowledge and to work hand in hand with other agents,” said María Paula Ríos.
Corporations and Startups: a profitable collaboration
For both Sejal Ravji and María Paula Rios it is essential for a corporation to choose the right startup to work with carefully but the most important thing is to know what the objective of the collaboration is. According to the Director of Open Innovation at Calidad Pascual, the purposes of a company can be many: “What new technologies do you want to incorporate? What new markets and businesses do you want to reach? Do they need a venture capital fund to invest in other businesses?” He stated.
As for José Luis Cabañero, “it is essential that both parties understand the limitations of these relationships. Startups have to understand the rigidity of corporations, just as these companies must understand the fragility of startups. ”
Startup & corporation collaboration
Collaborations between startups and larger companies are not as simple as one may think, due in part to the structural differences and clashes in business culture between both parties. However, if a mutual commitment has been established the end result can be promising.
“I have spoken to many startups, and we know that collaborating with a corporation is not easy because there is a different speed involved. In a company, the processes are usually slower than in a startup,” Sejal Ravji acknowledged.
For María Paula Ríos there is no single collaboration model to choose from, it all depends on the characteristics of each company, but what is common to all models is the need for flexibility on both sides. She stated that there must be full cohesion between both teams and this is exactly where the success in her companies open innovation strategy lies “What we want is to be able to work with a startup since it has a differential knowledge that contributes value and enhances our products. Only by doing this will we get to the next level, together.”
KPI´s in open innovation
José Luis Cabañero highlighted two classes of KPIs to measure the effectiveness and the final result of open innovation between startups and larger teams: there are KPIs that are associated with business growth; while there are other KPIs that are more difficult to measure such as the number of products launched.
Sejal Ravji and María Paula Ríos agreed. The Director of Open Innovation at Calidad Pascual added that “when the corporation is clear on its objective, it is easier to identify and measure the KPI”. The Director of Innovation and Strategy at Team Foods also added that “if there is a project that does not generate value, it won’t survive”
Missed this webinar? Check out the video