Coca-Cola Embraces Open Innovation for Sweeter Future

November 17, 2012 By IdeaConnection

coca-cola and open innovationTo achieve its well-publicized aim of doubling the size of its business by 2020 (Vs. 2009) Coca-Cola has to “think and act like a lean start-up company” and foster disruptive innovation.  That is innovation that’s not just new to the multinational drinks company, but new to the world.

Those were the messages that Coca-Cola chief procurement officer Ron Lewis delivered at a recent trade show in Las Vegas, and picked up by Food Navigator USA in this article.

The once highly secretive drinks manufacturer has come to the conclusion that a successful future depends on being open and willing to engage external sources of knowledge.

In his talk Ron Lewis admitted that the company doesn’t have the monopoly on good ideas, telling his audience that the best ones “won’t always come within the four walls of our supply chain.” Coke’s next innovation may come from outside, he told the audience.

He was also at pains to point out that although Coke it is at the top of its business tree with a huge market share, it is not complacent. He reminded the audience of Kodak’s experience and the dramatic loss of its business when consumers switched from film to digital technology.

“Every {market} leader is at risk of having that Kodak moment… We don’t want to get behind the trends. You innovate or you die.”

Culture Change

Coca-Cola appears keen to get the message out there that its culture is changing to a more open one. In September another employee at another trade show explained how the company wants to use social media to innovate with consumers.

Commercial Goals

Coke is engaging with open innovation in a variety of ways to help it to be the best at innovation in its industry (a stated goal) and achieve its commercial goals.

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Reader Comments

This is a very smart move for Coke. They are realizing that small companies are more dangerous than ever. That danger is amplified with the dynamic changes of consumer preferences. Here is an article that teaches companies how to keep the employees that think with an entrepreneur mindset.
Posted by Andrew Sieg on November 20, 2012

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