Heineken’s Global Search for Beer Concepts for Senior Citizens

Published Dec-30-13

A global open innovation call for new beers and beer-related concepts tailored to the 60+ generation.

Heineken, Netherlands

The Story:

Heineken’s Global Search for Beer Concepts for Senior Citizens To gather fresh product ideas and widen the pool of creative inputs to its innovation efforts, Dutch brewing group Heineken created Ideas Brewery an open innovation portal. The company realises that in today’s hugely competitive global market place, businesses can rarely rely solely on their own innovation efforts. So it regularly reaches out to innovators from far and wide.

“Ideas Brewery for us is a way to connect with creative minds, experts and also consumers around the world,” said Ellen Bark, Innovation Program Manager, Heineken.

The portal sets a series of challenges that require novel solutions and the third challenge asked for new ideas to enhance the drinking experience for people aged 60 years and over.

Pool of Crowdsourced Ideas

Before creative minds could get to work the portal conducted a crowdsourcing exercise to gather thoughts on the needs of the 60+ demographic. Participants were invited to film, photograph and write their observations. The aim of this task was to understand such things as how the 60+ generation has changed over the previous two decades and how and who they socialize with.

Observations came in from 19 countries across the globe and these were summarised into four themes:

• Learning and Discovery
• Quality Taste Experiences
• More Time for Social Occasions
• Age is Just a Number

These themes and insights were used as inspiration to fuel the creative phase of the competition. Close to 150 ideas were submitted to the portal and from these a shortlist of six finalists was drawn up. The shortlisted candidates then embarked on a two-and-a-half day workshop at Heineken headquarters in Amsterdam. There they refined their ideas with the help of the company’s innovation experts and external coaches.

Following a pitch event to a jury of internal and external innovation experts, three winners were chosen and they shared a prize pot of $10,000. Their ideas were judged on innovativeness, technical feasibility, commercial feasibility and the pitch presentation.

Three Innovative Winning Ideas

The first place winner was Tony Dianoff, a packaging designer from Finland for his ‘Fahrenheit +60’. This is a range of beers brewed at 60 °C and above to give fruitier and sweeter tastes. They also come with added iron, an important mineral for the over 60s.

Tony said of his win: “When I saw the Ideas Brewery 60+ Challenge, I knew I had to enter. The chance to work with Heineken on my creative idea is very exciting, and I’m looking forward to seeing the results.”

The second place winner was Nathan Gabriele, from the United States. His idea was a foil-covered neck-length twist bottle cap for arthritis sufferers. And the third prize was awarded to Charles McGregor from Australia for his wine-inspired beer recipe.

Future Challenges

To date, the brewing group is pleased with the level of engagement and quality of ideas that its open innovation portal has achieved. Additional public-facing challenges are in the pipeline for the future.

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