Wednesday, 29 April 2009

An Innocent way to run a business

At The Innovation Beehive we love reading. We also love really innovative companies - and we love smoothies.

Imagine our excitement when we came across "Innocent - our story and come things we've learned"? We insist you go out and buy it right now.

But in case you don't, here is a brief summary:

1) What's the big idea? Make sure you identify an unmet need. If you can't explain it to your granny then it probably won't work. If you can't be bothered to do a business plan once you get home from your day job, then you are not excited about it and no one else will be either.

2) Start small but dream big. Innocent started when three mates sold smoothies at a The Parsons Green Jazz festival. The Irish business started in a shed. Small is beautiful. But have big ambitions.

3) Keep on keeping on - the whole process of starting up is like chipping away at a stone, it will take you longer than you think, you should never accept 'NO' and never, ever give in.

4)Know what you care about. Innocent wanted to make food that was nutritious, healthy and employ people in a work place that was fun to be in. This can be summarised in the simple Purpose "Make food good", which is delivered through the five Values of:

5) It's all about the people. Know who you want, find them, communicate with them and make it fun (we liked this chapter so much we are going to devote a whole blog to it next time).

6) Have a simple marketing strategy:
- make a promise ("healthy") and stick to it
- chose a great name (Innocent won the day over the first incarnation of Fast Tractor)
- look good (simple packaging that has a tone of voice appropriate for the brand)
- be seen in the right places (Innocent deliberately focused on what they called 'Beacon Outlets' such as the trendy Fresh and Wild. Rubbing shoulders with these Beacon Outlet's gave Innocent kudos that got them into other outlets)
- get yourself in the papers (do silly stuff to get PR - Richard Branson anyone?)
-give it away (if you go to Fruit Towers you can help yourself to the fridge. I urge you to go. I have and came away with a big bagful of lovely stuff)
-go digital. Sign up for the great newsletter. Miles better and funnier than most of the crap sent to you by other companies.

7) Take care of the detail. Think how much work goes into the detail at Innocent. Think of the vans, the "enjoy by" (not use by) on the label, the communication on the pack, it goes on on and on and is all deliberate

8) Behave yourself. Stay true to who you are, be sustainable, be resource efficient and share the profits

9)Listen up. Innocent are constantly engaging in conversations with their drinkers (not consumers). Why not call up the Banana phone and try it? Or pop over to Fruit Towers and get a free guided tour? Or sign up for the blog? Or attend the Fruitstock festival? Or enter in the ballot to attend the AGM? By engaging with their people, they constantly get feedback and make sure they are delivering what their drinkers (and with Vegpots, now eaters) want.

It remains to be seen what will happen now they have sold at 30% share to Coke, but if they keep this up, I think they will continue on the road to success. They sum it up beautifully when they say the drinkers "make our business possible. Without our drinkers, we'd just have a very expensive hobby and a large pile of fruit out the back". We, at The Innovation Beehive, will drink to that.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

HR Podcast

We are loving this great HR podcast - check out

Storytelling in Business

We have been thinking lots about how Leaders use Storytelling in business. On Friday we will be posting our latest thinking. So watch this space and in the meantime check out our favourite story teller Preethi Nair at

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Lessons from the G20 and Obama

We at The Innovation Beehive fill our projects with stimulus to help our clients come up with ideas that none of the competition are close to having. With that in mind we got to thinking about the recent G20 Leadership Summit and what lessons could be drawn about Consensus Building and Leadership from our Global Leaders.

So here are The Innovation Beehive's 7 Learnings from the G20, Brown and Obama. Do let us know what you think...

1) Paint a vivid picture of what you want to achieve - no one was in any doubt, this was about saving the world economy

2) Admit to your past mistakes - Obama was very open about the Bush administration and how he believes American lost its way

3) Allow your opposition a voice - France and Germany were very vocal, but neither Brown or Obama briefed against them

4)Do your pre-work and make sure there are no surprises - Brown circled the globe to pre-brief and get alignment before the Summit even took place

5) Quiet one on ones work best and ensure Leaders listen - when there was stalemate at the Summit, Obama would take the appropriate World Leader aside for a quiet one to one, to hear his/her concerns and assure them of the course of action

6) Build momentum and do it quickly - the event happened at whistle stop speed (well at least for Government)

7) Be Bold, but don't over promise on timescales - the thought of a nuclear free world was planted by Obama in Turkey. A very bold goal indeed, but he qualified it by saying it was unlikely to happen in his lifetime

Friday, 3 April 2009

We are really excited to have teamed up with SociaGuys to bring Innovation to the London Gay and Lesbian scene.

Social Guys Mission is to help make London the best city to live and visit if you happen to be gay.

What is Innovation London?
Innovation London is part of SociaGuys and SociaGals, and provides a forum for people, who want to see more products and services provided to London’s large and diverse gay population, to discuss new ideas and find ways to cost-effectively implement them with the help of existing and new companies.

Check out and click on Innovate London.

G20 Leadership

We are currently putting together a thought piece on what the G20 Summit can teach us about Leadership and consensus building - will be up on Monday so come back then!!