How to use know-how and resources - the right way!
Investing in new products or projects also represents a considerable economic risk for innovative and successful companies such as Melitta. The comparatively inexpensive and swift iteration process with its frequent test phases helps to significantly reduce this risk. Prototypes are built, and value propositions, concepts and business models are validated to analyze whether there is still room for improvement.
Iterative processes offer room for failure. For only frequent and rapid failure helps identify weaknesses in the current concepts and minimize potential risks – thus significantly raising a project’s chances of success. The success of this strategy is also aided by Melitta’s optimal use of flat hierarchies and short decision-making paths.
This means that logistical resources and internal know-how can be utilized much faster than with large corporations. For example, when it comes to contacts with the retail trade, PR and marketing, or legal issues.
Individual operating divisions are responsible for incremental innovations, while the Group’s in-house innovation management team is responsible for substantial innovations. Their common goal is to secure and expand the core business with the aid of incremental innovations, i.e. with modifications to existing products, and to develop and build new categories or brand new business fields for Melitta that completely change the market rules of existing segments with substantial innovations.
However, the topic of “innovation” is by no means limited to products and services at Melitta, but for many operating divisions is also part of their own growth strategy – and of huge relevance for each employee and every department. After all, new recruiting and working models or the development of new sales channels all help support, strengthen and rejuvenate the Melitta brand.
Melitta 2020 or: What’s so innovative about the Innovation Team?
Similar to many large companies, innovation is one of Melitta’s instruments for achieving lasting international success in the future. Against this backdrop, the topic of innovation was defined as a specific objective in the Group’s growth strategy “Melitta 2020” – and a four-member Innovation Team was set up in early 2016.
For two-thirds of its time, the Team works on business models and product developments for innovative value propositions, while the remaining one-third of its working time is used to enhance innovative capabilities within the Group.
One of the first things the Innovation Team did was therefore to develop a manual of methods which should act as a source of inspiration and help employees create and implement their own innovative ideas. In addition, the Team actively supports participating colleagues with training, coaching or tips. And, as an internal service provider, it drives projects forward before returning them to the respective departments.
The composition of the Innovation Team is interdisciplinary. In other words, it consists of specialists from different departments with equal rights, who work together on projects and complement each other with regard to their skills. It is no surprise therefore that the individual Team members cover a wide range of areas, tasks and topics.