“Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others.” - Brian Tracy
“You want to invent new ideas, not new rules.” - Dan Heath
“We translate trends into business.” - Preneurl.
“A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is – it is what consumers tell each other it is.” - Scott Cook
“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” - Albert Einstein
11 December, 2013
“What can other sectors learn from the Dutch horticulture sector?”
Innovation is a hot topic. More and more companies try to present themselves as an innovative company. Often the aim is to bring distinctive products or services on the market which are the tangible result of an innovation process. The innovation of the ultimate product which is supposed to create more value on the market often takes place somewhere else in the chain and is not realized by the company that markets the product . Sometimes somewhere where one certainly would not expect it.
In this blog I want to focus in particular on innovation and concept development in the Dutch horticulture sector. The Netherlands are a major international player in this market. The innovative character of the Dutch horticulturist and growers contributes to this success in a spectacular way. The Dutch government is aware of the importance of innovation in the horticultural sector and co-invests to maintain the competitive advantage.
The innovative ability of companies in this sector is characterized by value chain thinking. For example discussions with wholesalers and retailers such as supermarkets, analyzing customer’s needs and the end product but also in raw materials. In the last years this resulted in a shift from product thinking towards concept thinking. The consumer and consumer needs are the key and no longer the end product itself.
What are the implications of this new way of thinking? Of course, innovation also took place in the ‘old’ product thinking process. The application of new techniques and the breeding of new varieties made sure that new products were brought to market or existing products got improved. However, with these innovations a ‘push’ strategy was used . New products were brought to market while the consumer need was not evident.
With concept thinking the input for innovation comes from the (end)consumer and there is a ‘pull’ strategy. For example, the consumer may have a need for other forms of application of a certain type of vegetable. Or there is the desire for fruits and vegetables which taste better or are more fun for kids. Often these needs are not easy to fulfill and it requires a long and costly innovation process where one will be confronted with skeptics who consider certain innovations as unfeasible. Often this are chain partners who are stuck in the ‘old’ way of innovation thinking. They still think in terms of the (in)possibilities of the current product.
Concept thinking may sound like a marketing tool, but I believe when concept thinking is applied well, a sustainable customer relationship can be realized. This goes beyond the product. Creating an experience, telling the story around the product and respond to moments of use. These are just some of the many aspects that can be taken into consideration.
For the horticultural sector, concept thinking in the chain is relatively new. In other sectors, this trend is put into motion years ago. The challenge in these sectors is to start the concept thinking in a ‘ new’ way.
Thinking about different and new sales channels, the new role of distributors, how exports can play a more important role or how new and/or other countries offer opportunities by adjusting the concept to local needs.
Or review the role of the wholesale, involve raw material suppliers in the development of recyclable materials or sustainable production, looking at options for production closer to home, what can stakeholders add in the process etc.
Are you, after reading this blog, inspired and would you like to learn more about the way you can apply innovation and concept thinking in your business, the chain and in your assortment and products?
Please feel free to contact us by sending an e-mail to email@example.com. And the digital partners; what role can the digital chain play in the innovation process. There are countless variations possible in which the chain in different sectors can be reviewed and enhanced, in order to come to a necessary final innovation.