Stage-Gate International - Summit 2017

Innovation Champions


Jeffry Koran Jeffrey Korengel
Beam Suntory | Senior Director, Product and Process Development

Presentation Title: Adapting Lean, Agile and Scrum Tools and Practices for use in a Traditional Stage-Gate Innovation Process

Presentation Overview

Adapting Lean, Agile and Scrum Tools and Practices for use in a Traditional Stage-Gate Innovation Process

Managing workloads, new product project selection, effective and efficient resource allocation decisions and speed to market issues have both strategic and tactical elements. Jeff Korengel has spent over 25 years building organizations and project management processes in fast moving, highly matrixed, multi-national consumer product companies and knows this only too well. He has found there is no one single solution to address all the challenges that regularly pop up to confront those doing product development from reaching their goals. However, through trial and error and by adopting, adapting and applying Lean, Agile and Scrum tools and practices to a Stage-Gate process he has found a hybrid approach can yield highly satisfactory results. Join Jeff Korengel to learn how Lean and Agile tools can help maximize an organizations capacity in a light weight, low process way. Explore in depth as part of this presentation:

  • Fast, simple, powerful project workload estimating with Agile Planning Poker
  • Organization capacity management with Visual Management, Kanban, and WIP limits
  • High quality stakeholder engagement and portfolio management with the O'Sullivan Dooley model
  • Creating a measure of each projects impact per unit of work capacity to maximize organizational effectiveness

Speaker Biography

Jeff Korengel has more than 25 years of food and beverage new product development, scale-up, and commercialization experience. Jeff joined Beam Suntory in 2016 and is responsible for new product development and process development within R&D. Prior to joining Beam Suntory Jeff spent 6 years with ConAgra Foods and 19 years with PepsiCo Beverages in a number of roles across technical project management, new product commercialization, manufacturing technologies, process development, package development, and business process improvement. Jeff holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering and a minor in Industrial / Organizational Psychology from Georgia Institute of Technology and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of South Florida. He is a PMI certified Project Management Professional, a Lean Sensei, Six Sigma Green Belt, PMI Agile Certified Practitioner, and Scrum Master.

Beam Suntory

The people of Beam Suntory are the custodians of brands that have heritages measured in centuries. In 1795, a farmer and grain mill operator named Jacob Beam produced the first barrel of whiskey that would become Jim Beam, our flagship brand now overseen by seventh generation Beam master distiller Fred Noe. The history of Suntory begins in 1899 when the founder Shinjiro Torii started producing sweet wines. He then courageously produced the first Japanese whisky and today, Suntory is the No.1 whisky distiller in Japan, known for its flagship single malt whisky "Yamazaki," "Hakushu," and the blended whiskies "Hibiki."Suntory has at its origins a "Yatte Minahare – Go for it!" spirit that encourages its team to dream big … the very same values and entrepreneurial spirit that have built Beam for more than 200 years and will guide Beam Suntory as a global leader in premium spirits. As a company that crafts some of the world's best-known and most widely talked about premium brands, Beam Suntory has centuries of product development, innovation and proven experience building successful global brands. We particularly pride ourselves in having the industry's most extensive whiskey portfolio with our breadth and depth spanning the five global whisky categories: American, Japanese, Canadian, Scotch and Irish whiskies.

Travis Young Travis Young
Lundberg Family Farms | Financial Planning and Analysis Manager

Presentation Title: Is a Flexible or Fixed NPD Process the Solution for Small to Medium Sized Companies Seeking to Win at Product Development?

Presentation Overview

How best to use a NPD process to facilitate product development is a topic of debate at many companies today. Would implementing a fixed process impact the speed, creativity and/or flexibility that company leaders and developers believe is their current competitive advantage? Will adopting a flexible approach address concerns regarding the need for uniformity in how different project teams identify and assess risk while evaluating, validating, nurturing and shaping new product ideas and concepts? Which approach better facilitates portfolio management efforts and prioritization decisions? Ultimately would one serve leadership's needs more effectively in their efforts to develop the firm's innovation capabilities while laying the foundation for sustainable growth? These are some of the most common concerns expressed when companies are looking at implementing a new NPD process and are fearful of what the side effects might be for any decisions made.

Plan to join Travis Young as he shares his rich experience designing and implementing both flexible and fixed NPD Stage-Gate processes in multiple companies and learn why Travis believes this is the wrong question to focus upon. Travis will discuss, 1) why the objective at any company should be to develop a NPD process that facilitates progressive idea evaluation, validation and shaping and, 2) why this might involve transitioning from a fixed to flexible process or vice versa to achieve and sustain the desired performance results. Find out how a 6 element business case approach and adherence to a handful of key principles can ensure the NPD process you design and implement will have an immediate impact and position product development efforts at your company to be effective long into the future. Important takeaways from the presentation will include:

  1. Why you may be worrying about the wrong things when deciding to go with a fixed or flexible process
  2. Why some companies need to start with a fixed process and others do not
  3. The key principles that can help keep your process effective long into the future

Speaker Biography

As the Product Commercialization Manager at Lundberg Family Farms, Travis led the design, implementation, and continuous improvement of the company's new product commercialization process. The efforts of Travis and his team resulted in a heightened quality of products launched, reduced concept-to-launch time, and improved organizational execution. Travis led initiatives that resulted in the market launch of nearly 80 branded SKUs in 3 years. Prior to re-joining Lundberg Family Farms last fall, Travis was the Commercialization Manager at Peet's Coffee, where he implemented a flexible new product commercialization process that was scalable across different business channels. In this role, Travis led the introduction of several key new products. Travis holds a Master of Business Administration degree from California State University, Chico and is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP®).

About Lundberg Family Farms

Lundberg Family Farms is committed to producing the finest quality rice and rice products for your family. Since 1937, the Lundberg family has been growing healthy, great tasting rice while respecting and sustaining the earth. Today, the third and fourth generations carry on the family heritage by using eco-positive farming methods that produce wholesome, healthful rice, rice cakes, rice chips, and risottos, while improving and protecting the environment for generations to come.

Rena Cohen-First

Rena Cohen-First
Nature's Crops International | Vice President of Sales

Presentation Title: Go from Inside-Out to Outside-In by Leveraging this Underused Innovation Asset

Presentation Overview

Go from Inside-Out to Outside-In by Leveraging this Underused Innovation Asset

Organizations that report being dissatisfied with their product development results often share that they attribute their launch failures to poorly performed or missing pre-development discovery work. The research is clear on the activities that product developers should undertake pre-development to qualify and nurture an NPD idea, yet too often these activities are either not included in the project plan or suffer from poor execution quality.

With every launch product developers should be trying to introduce into the market new products or services that are unique, superior, and differentiated. Great new products most often are created when developers have taken an Outside-In approach to their development and truly have sought to understand and met the needs / wants of the target customers / markets involved.

Unfortunately, few product developers tend to have deep relationships with the customers of their companies. But their sales people do. Involving the sales function in product development can be risky, but it can also be a tremendous source of valuable information and an access point to clients whose input could be critical to the success or failure of the project involved. Join Rena Cohen-First as she shares her perspective on this and draws from a long history of leading sales teams while participating in the innovation process. Discover which steps you should take or should avoid, to activate what is usually an underused, but potentially valuable innovation asset.

Speaker Biography

Rena Cohen-First is Vice President of Sales for Natures Crops International. Rena has extensive food ingredient industry experience, and for the past 18 years, has been selling and leading sales teams selling to the largest food, beverage and supplement manufacturers in the world. She has published a book on women in sales and is a contributing writer for Huffington Post and Thrive Global on the same topic. She has taught online business and leadership classes as an adjunct instructor, studied professional and executive coaching, completed her MBA and served in the US Army. She resides in San Diego with her two children and husband.

About Natures Crops International

Natures Crops International is a manufacturer of specialty oils for dietary supplements, nutraceuticals, food, and personal care products. Nature's Crops International produces oils from the highest quality crops, produced by growers who follow strict management protocols for sustainability and identity preservation. Nature's Crops ensures the crops produced are grown, processed, packaged, and delivered in a safe, sustainable, traceable, and cost-competitive manner. The company has operations in Canada and the United Kingdom, with headquarters in North Carolina.

Niel Nickolaisen

Niel Nickolaisen
OC Tanner | Chief Technology Officer

Presentation Title: How the 3P's Impact and are Impacted by a Lean, Agile, and Stage-Gate® Approach to Product Development

Presentation Overview

How the 3P's Impact and are Impacted by a Lean, Agile, and Stage-Gate® Approach to Product Development

How are Lean, Agile, Lean Start-up and Stage-Gate related (if at all)? What are the underlying principles that apply to product development, project management and technology development and how can we apply these principles (in a pragmatic way)? In this session, Niel Nickolaisen, author of 'The Agile Culture' describes the principles of Lean, Agile and Lean Start-up and then teaches, using a workshop approach, two models we can use, in a pragmatic way, to focus our innovation on what creates our competitive advantage and unleashes the capabilities of our teams. The goal of this session is to enable delegates to leave fluent with these different models and so ready to begin either designing, implementing or sustaining a NPD hybrid solution. One that will lever the talents of your people, be an effective process to ensure your projects are done right while simultaneously driving much higher levels of in process productivity.

Speaker Biography

Niel Nickolaisen is the CTO at OC Tanner. He has held technology executive and operations executive positions; typically in turnaround roles. He has a passion for helping others deliver on what he considers to be the three roles of IT leadership: 1) Enable strategy and 2) Achieve operational excellence and 3) Create a culture of trust and ownership.

He holds a MS in Engineering from MIT, a BS in Physics from Utah State University, and an MBA from Utah State University.

He writes an enterprise CIO column for SearchCIO. He is the author of "The Agile Culture" (2014, Addison Wesley) and "Stand Back and Deliver" (Addison Wesley, 2009). Niel was the winner of the 2015 Prop IT award.

About OC Tanner

O.C. Tanner, the global employee recognition and engagement leader, helps thousands of the world's most respected companies accomplish and appreciate great work. Every bit of technology we develop, every award we design, everything we do helps people dream bigger and reach higher. Clients around the globe use our employee recognition solutions to attract and keep talent, improve employee engagement, drive performance goals, communicate values, increase wellbeing, and create experiences that fuel the human spirit. We're on a mission to make people who do great work the most celebrated people in the world.

Niel Nickolaisen

Sarah M. Hatfield
OnProcess Technology | Vice President, Product Management

Presentation Title: The Impact of Going From Good to Great Governance on Product Development Success

Presentation Overview

The Impact of Going From Good to Great Governance on Product Development Success

People, not process innovate. It is also people who govern and who make the difference through their governance of a firm’s innovation framework that equally contributes to innovation success. There is no secret sauce when it comes to this. Product development results come from identifying, developing and launching products/services a company’s clients and potential customers need and want. Great governance fosters engagement – in people – effectiveness – in process – and efficiency – in productivity. What do those who lead the firm’s innovation efforts and who are responsible for designing and sustaining its governance model need to know, and do, in order to achieve excellence around these three “E’s”? What does great governance look like and how does a firm move its governance model from good to great? What metrics might you use to measure the success of your governance model? Join OnProcess Technology Vice President of Product Management, Sarah Hatfield, as she shares her experience and passion designing, implementing and then sustaining high performing Stage-Gate® and innovation framework governance models. Sarah will provide tips and insights that will allow you to drive engagement, effectiveness, and efficiency to all new levels of performance. Why settle for being good if . . . WHEN . . . you can be great!

Key areas to be covered in this presentation include:

  1. Governance overview
  2. Common challenges associated with governance
  3. Examples of when governance doesn’t work
  4. Impact of weak governance
  5. People component of governance
  6. Process component of governance
  7. Productivity component of governance

Speaker Biography

Sarah Hatfield directs OnProcess’ strategy for products and core service offerings, including the OPTvision℠ platform. She brings more than 15 years of leadership expertise from previous roles in supply chain, product and program management for Comcast, Asurion and ADT. In recent years, her focus has been new product development in the connected home and IoT spaces. Sarah’s early career highlights include active duty service, as an enlisted soldier in the 25th Infantry Division, US Army. She is a veteran of foreign wars, and recipient of multiple service awards, including the Combat Action Badge.

About OnProcess

OnProcess Technology is a managed services provider specializing in complex, global service supply chain operations – the flow of people, parts and services following the sale of a product. The company’s unique combination of supply chain expertise, technology-driven delivery and continual analytics-based process improvement, enables clients to quickly optimize efficiencies, scale operations, grow revenue and profitability, and deliver superior customer experiences.  With particular expertise in technology, broadband, medical, logistics, manufacturing and mobile verticals, OnProcess is relied upon by many of the world’s leading companies. OnProcess provides services in 23 languages and operates out of eight global facilities.

John Lynch

John Lynch
Procter & Gamble | Corporate Innovation Management Leader

Presentation Title: Harnessing the Power of People, Agile Processes and Continuous Productivity Improvement to Drive P&G Innovation

Presentation Overview

Harnessing the Power of People, Agile Processes and Continuous Productivity Improvement to Drive P&G Innovation

For over 179 years Procter & Gamble has built its brands and a renowned sustainable business model through its relentless commitment to excellence in innovation focused on delighting the consumer.   Key to the company’s innovation success is leveraging the power of P&G’s people, creating and adopting the best practices in innovation, and driving productivity to maximize value creation. Plan to join John Lynch for a highly interactive session on how P&G addresses and manages the innovation ecosystem – innovation strategy, portfolio management, idea conception to launch of new products – and creates a culture of innovation leveraging people, process and productivity.   Attendees will come away with key three takeaways:

  1. The criticality of well-developed and clearly defined Business and Innovation Strategies in building a sustainable and consistent innovation program,
  2. How building innovation program leaders with high-level business acumen and agile program management skills is essential to effectively guide business executives,
  3. Why you must continually drive renewal of your innovation practices to simplify transactions, make faster decisions and go to market when needed.

Speaker Biography

John Lynch graduated from Lafayette College with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and immediately went to work for the Procter and Gamble Manufacturing Company where he spent the first 15 years of his career in various manufacturing assignments and plant operations. His assignments included P&G's Fabric and Home Care, Hard Surface Cleaners, Perfume, Beauty and Family Care Businesses. Following his manufacturing career, John moved into the Global New Product Launch and Supply Chain Innovation in P&G's Family Care, Beauty and Oral Care Businesses where he led multi-function initiative teams to launch new product lines, new manufacturing platforms, and to drive cost savings programs to deliver P&G's top and bottom line business results. In each of these assignments, the brands that John was accountable for were among the leading contributors to P&G's growth. John's role expanded to include managing the Innovation and Total Brand portfolio with the Presidents of those businesses and to lead the Portfolio Management process end-to-end, from Strategy to final execution in market. This included leading the Portfolio Process, resourcing the portfolio and activating the multi-function initiative teams and base business teams to deliver the agreed to plans. John is a recognized Innovation Leader at Procter and Gamble and as such was recently appointed to lead the Corporate Innovation Management team for the company.

About Procter & Gamble

Procter & Gamble, a company that has been establishing brands for the past 175 years, helps people around the world have extraordinary days ... every day. Our family of innovative and trusted brands make every day just a little better for billions of consumers around the world. Procter & Gamble has passionate employees living in and serving the people of 80 countries around the world.

Grace Willis

Grace Willis
Propane Education & Research Council | Director of Operations

Presentation Title Adapting, Adopting and Applying Stage-Gate to Accelerate and Manage External Co-Innovation and Co-Development

Presentation Overview

Adapting, Adopting and Applying Stage-Gate to Accelerate and Manage External Co-Innovation and Co-Development

There are many compelling reasons to pursue external innovation /co-innovation / co-development beyond the obvious value of accessing new platform technologies, assets, and or IP advancements. Setting out to identify and then establish external partnerships pales in difficulty to the task of managing these successful post contracts. Organizations that have developed a high performing NPD process not only recognize its benefits and values but also the potential to leverage it when pursuing an external innovation development strategy. For nearly a decade the Propane Education Research Council (PERC) has pursued the majority of its innovation efforts external to itself. They did so successfully through the use of a specially designed NPD process. Plan to join PERC's Director of Operations Grace Willis as she shares the work she and others have done at PERC to design and operationalise a Stage-Gate process specially adapted for external innovation and product development. What has PERC learned over this journey and what would Grace recommend to others looking to build structure and discipline around what is normally a chaotic situation made more uncertain by being external to the firm. Key take away points from this presentation will include:

  1. Why it is important to ensure your product development process is flexible  . . . not rigid
  2. How risks can be mitigated through partnerships that offset your weaknesses and where your strengths can be levered
  3. Why undertaking a thorough partner evaluation before signing on, and during the post launch review, is critical when co-developing a new product
  4. How strategic and priority misalignments can disrupt even the best laid out plans between partners and how to predict and manage

Speaker Biography

Grace Willis began her career at the Propane Education & Research Council, a US-based energy non-profit, as an intern while studying at university. Upon graduating with honors, Grace joined PERC full-time as executive assistant to the Chief Marketing Officer and began working on the Energy Guys advertising campaign and managing PERC’s government outreach campaign. Grace played a pivotal role in the planning, promotion, and execution of the World LP Gas Association’s 2006 inaugural Global Technology Conference that took place in Chicago, Illinois, USA.

In 2007, working with Stage-Gate International, she led the development and currently oversees PERC’s new product development and innovation process. Her current responsibilities include strategic planning, portfolio management, metric analytics, and budget planning. In her current role, she serves as principal staff liaison to PERC’s Strategic Planning Task Force, the Portfolio Subcommittee, and the 100-member Advisory Committee. She also represents PERC on the World LP Gas Association’s strategic review committee.

Grace holds a B.S. in Government & International Politics from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, and a minor in Global Systems. She currently resides in Washington, DC.

C. Scott Lamb

C. Scott Lamb
Revlon, Inc. | Vice President of Global Portfolio and Program Management

Presentation Title: The Art and Science Behind Crafting, Aligning and Operationalizing Innovation Strategy and Portfolio Management

Presentation Overview

The Art and Science Behind Crafting, Aligning and Operationalizing Innovation Strategy and Portfolio Management

Innovation is the lifeblood of every company. An innovation framework that effectively intertwines strategy, portfolio management, Stage-Gate® process and a supportive culture is most often the starting point for great new products. Most firm's report having some type of NPD process, a methodology for selecting projects and/or a strategy of sorts to facilitate their product development efforts. Yet, too few firm's indicate being satisfied with their innovation results. So what is happening, not happening or what might be missing? Have leaders skewed too far towards relying on tools, techniques and technology - the science of Portfolio Management - at the expense of balancing and blending the art of Portfolio Management for success?

This talk will share Scott Lamb's experience in blending the art and science of Portfolio Management and Stage-Gate processes to explore these and other questions more deeply. What do those who lead and execute innovation need to know and to do differently in order to better balance the science and art involved? What should be done to ensure from top to bottom, and side to side, in their organizations that they are fully leveraging people, process and the productivity that ultimately drives innovation success? Drawing upon his deep and varied experience Scott will share his thoughts and provide insights to enable delegates to leave with a far greater understanding of the key ingredients that combine art and science as they pertain to crafting, aligning and operationalizing innovation strategy and portfolio management. Some important topics that Scott will explore include:

  1. Define the concept of the art of Portfolio Management versus the science of Portfolio Management.
  2. What is involved with crafting, aligning and operationalizing innovation strategy and portfolio management?
  3. How does the firm’s innovation process maturity impact your strategy for building Portfolio and Stage-Gate capability and what role can the right blend of art and science play?
  4. What metrics and tools can help assess the effectiveness and improve adoption of Innovation Processes (Portfolio Management and Stage-Gate).
  5. How can you blend art and science into both your strategy for enhancing innovation and building portfolio and Stage-Gate management for your company?

Speaker Biography

Mr. Lamb is Vice President of Global Portfolio and Program Management (PMO) for Revlon, Inc. and is the owner of Revlon's Innovation Development Process. Prior to joining Revlon, Scott was VP of Technical Project and Portfolio Management for G&W Laboratories and President of his own boutique Consulting Firm. From 2012 to 2014, Mr. Lamb served as head of R&D for Catalent's Modified Release Technology unit with operational responsibility for R&D revenue ($60 million), 110 employees across five global sites, and the BASF open alliance. Prior to 2012, Mr. Lamb was with Johnson & Johnson, working for multiple units including Consumer Products Worldwide, McNeil and Medical Devices & Diagnostics. From 1992 to 1998, Mr. Lamb worked for Procter & Gamble's OTC medicines unit doing solid and liquid dose formulation, scale-up and technology transfer. Scott's educational background is chemical engineering and economics, from the University of Delaware, and he holds seven issued US patents.

About Revlon, Inc.

Revlon has developed a long-standing reputation as a color authority and beauty trendsetter in the world of color cosmetics and hair care. Since its breakthrough launch of the first opaque nail enamel in 1932, Revlon has provided consumers with high quality product innovation, performance and sophisticated glamour. In 2016, Revlon acquired the iconic Elizabeth Arden® portfolio of brands, including its leading designer, heritage and celebrity fragrances. Today, Revlon's diversified portfolio of brands is sold in more than 130 countries around the world in most retail distribution channels, including mass, salon and prestige. Revlon ranks among the top 20 global beauty companies, with product offerings in color cosmetics, skincare, hair care and fragrances under brands such as Revlon, Elizabeth Arden, Revlon ColorSilk, Revlon Professional, American Crew, Almay, Cutex, Elizabeth Taylor, Britney Spears, Juicy Couture, Curve, John Varvatos and Christina Aguilera.

Dr. Anita Friis Dr. Anita Friis Sommer
The LEGO Group | Senior Consultant - Programme Manager for EMEA Continuous Improvement

Presentation Title: The Impact of Misalignment Between Innovation Leadership and Management on the Role and Purpose of Agile in a Hybrid Stage-Gate® Idea-to-Launch Process

Presentation Overview

The Impact of Misalignment Between Innovation Leadership and Management on the Role and Purpose of Agile in a Hybrid Stage-Gate® Idea-to-Launch Process

Recently The Lego Group and some of Denmark’s largest companies have come together to jointly develop a hybrid Stage-Gate process platform that mid and other large sized Danish companies can customize for their unique needs. In the quest to be faster to market, but still market-driven and responsive, product developers have been quick to embrace the idea of embedding agility principles into their traditional Stage-Gate processes. This new initiative is proving to be most exciting and is expected to take NPD process excellence to a whole new level for the firms involved.

Over the course of this journey, a new challenge has emerged for firms converting from a traditional to a hybrid Stage-Gate process. This involves speed, but not speed to market which so often confronts those managing a company’s NPD efforts. Customized hybrid Stage-Gate processes have been proven to be very efficient, but their effectiveness is being impacted by leadership speed, or lack thereof, to react and adjust innovation strategy to changes in the innovation ecosystem. Agility on the front lines of innovation is not being matched by agility at the strategic and portfolio level and this is frustrating to all concerned. Join Agile and Stage-Gate process expert Anita Sommers in this highly interactive session, as she shares what The Lego Group has been doing to embed agility into its innovation framework while mitigating against strategic versus tactical misalignments that now appear to be a by-product of the quest for speed. It is clear that firms who fail to align and sync the key pieces of their innovation framework will struggle to achieve the innovation results desired and benefits possible. Over the course of Anita’s session she will cover and explore:

  1. The 3 main benefits of a hybrid NPD process
  2. Why building agility into a Stage-Gate NPD process can be difficult for established firms
  3. The disconnect between strategic versus tactical agility and its consequences
  4. Why innovation leadership might become the greatest threat to sustained innovation success
  5. How to mitigate speed to market requirements with speed to decision realities

Speaker Biography

Dr. Anita Friis Sommer is a Senior Consultant in Continuous Improvement in The LEGO Group and programme manager for continuous improvement in the Pan-European markets. She is responsible for managing and leading the change journey in the EMEA markets, supporting The LEGO Group in becoming an agile organization that continuously adapts to change while maintaining core strengths.

Prior to joining The LEGO Group, she was Research Associate at University of Cambridge in charge of research projects on improving product development processes. Anita's award winning research includes case studies on Agile/Stage-Gate® hybrids and collaborative product development.

Since 2001, she has consulted industrial manufacturing companies improving development, management, and manufacturing processes. She holds a PhD in product development management and a Master in Industrial Engineering from Aalborg University, Denmark. She currently lives in Billund, Denmark, with her husband and two kids.

The LEGO Group

The LEGO Group is a privately held company based in Billund, Denmark. The company is still owned by the Kirk Kristiansen family who founded it in 1932. It is the LEGO® philosophy that 'good quality play' enriches a child's life - and lays the foundation for later adult life. We believe that play is a key element in children's growth and development and stimulates the imagination and the emergence of ideas and creative expression. All LEGO products are based on this underlying philosophy of learning and development through play.

LEGO bricks are all part of the LEGO system, which essentially means that they can easily be combined in innumerable ways - and just as easily be dismantled. The more LEGO bricks you have, the more fertile your creativity can become. The combination of a structured system, logic and unlimited creativity encourages the child to learn through play in a wholly unique LEGO fashion.

The LEGO Group wants to leave a positive impact - be it in respect to the Group's stakeholders or the wider community. The LEGO Group is committed to caring for the environment and the society that children will inherit, and to inspiring and developing the builders of tomorrow.

Chris Kwiat

Chris Kwiat
The Schwan Food Company | Senior Director of Business Integration

Presentation Title: The Impact of Governance and People on Speed to Market, Execution & Decision Quality

Presentation Overview

The Impact of Governance and People on Speed to Market, Execution & Decision Quality

Over the past three years, The Schwan Food Company has been on a reinvention journey in every aspect of its culture and business. Stage-Gate® and portfolio management has been no exception. Although Schwan Foods has been practicing Stage-Gate for over thirteen years, the company recently made breakthrough advances leading to improved business performance. In one year, a newly created Stage-Gate and portfolio management team reduced the project portfolio by 30%, improved resource allocation, and institutionalized governance via a project prioritization approach that leverages the power of their multiple business units to execute against the best opportunities for the company.

Learn how this team of three led with passion, energy, and resilience to change the way the company makes decisions and had fun in the process. Their story will share how they aligned an organization, activated critical work, prioritized 300+projects, and executed to successful outcomes.

Session focus will be on steps that you can take back to your organization to begin your own journey including:

  • Organizing for Success - people, process, projects
  • Stabilizing your current process
  • Prioritizing via a company lens
  • Strengthening the Stage-Gate foundation

Speaker Biography

As Senior Director of Business Integration at Schwan Foods, Chris Kwiat is responsible for the Stage-Gate® and portfolio management process and is the business liaison between Schwan's 4 business units and the research and development function.

Over her 18 year career, her experiences include leading product and package development at Schwans', Nabisco, Oscar Mayer, Boca, Claussen and Kraft Foods across retail, food service and club channels touching several product categories.

Chris earned her master's degree in Food Science and Human Nutrition from The University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana and bachelor's degree in Food Science from The Pennsylvania State University. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with her husband and 2 children. Outside of work Chris enjoys travel and being an amateur craft cocktail mixologist.

About The Schwan Food Company

The Schwan Food Company is a privately held business that manufactures and markets quality foods through home-delivery, retail-grocery and food-service channels. Its many popular brands include Red Baron®, Tony's®, Bon Appétit and Freschetta® pizza, Mrs. Smith's® and Edwards® desserts, Pagoda® snacks and appetizers, and Schwan's® home delivery. Based in Minnesota, the company's subsidiaries employ 12,000 people throughout the United States. The business began in the early 1950s when a young Marvin Schwan loaded ice cream into a 1946 Dodge panel van and set out to visit rural customers in southwest Minnesota. By the end of Marvin's first day, he sold 14 gallons of ice cream and began formulating a plan that would help his business grow to become a leader in the frozen-food industry.

Workshop Presentations

Colin Palombo Colin Palombo - April 5th - 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Innovation Framework Technologies | Managing Partner

Workshop Title: The Case for Building Agility into a Traditional Stage-Gate® Process

Workshop Abstract

The Case for Building Agility into a Traditional Stage-Gate® Process

Through the use of simulation techniques delegates will navigate a generic new product idea from conception to development through both a hybrid and traditional Stage-Gate process. This workshop is ideal for those just starting their Stage-Gate journey or contemplating building agility into an existing, traditional process. This session will provide participants with the opportunity to compare and contrast the strengths and weaknesses of each. A definite must attend for those eager to explore how adopting, adapting and integrating Agile and Stage-Gate principles to create a hybrid NPD process might solve some of the biggest innovation challenges that they are currently facing. Five important takeaways from this workshop will include:

  1. How to set-up a hybrid process from scratch
  2. How to modify a traditional Stage-Gate process to integrate the benefits of Agile
  3. Pitfalls of an Agile process and how to avoid them
  4. Implications for project leaders, project teams and gatekeepers
  5. The benefits of software automation for managing Agile, Stage-Gate projects

Speaker Biography

Colin Palombo is a co-founder and managing partner of Innovation Framework Technologies, a global innovation and NPD software and consulting firm. Colin is also a visiting Professor of Innovation at the University of Strathclyde, the UK's 2016 Business School of the Year, and a member of Abundance 360, Peter Diamandis' 250 member group of leading innovation thinkers. His perspective uniquely combines innovation best-practice with software automation and disruptive technology insight. Over the last 25 years, Colin has worked with clients in North & South America, Europe, South Korea and Japan to help them achieve successful and lasting innovation results. Colin led IFT's efforts to become the first 'Stage-Gate® Ready' certified vendor in the world, and has led Innovation Framework's Americas business since its founding in 2006.

Company Overview:

IFT provides software and consulting to help companies transform their innovation processes and results. As the company with the first software to be certified Stage-Gate® Ready, we have worked with clients in industries including: industrial products, energy, chemicals, consumer goods, high tech and life sciences to help them tailor product development best practices to their unique requirements. Our software is used by over 250 companies worldwide and 500,000 users to achieve successful results. Our solutions include: Portfolio Strategy (roadmapping, portfolio selection, VOC analysis); Front End of Innovation (idea management, insight scouting, open innovation); and Product Development (product development process, project & resource management, product lifecycle management).

Kip A. Creel Kip A. Creel - April 5th - 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm
StandPoint, Inc. | President

Workshop Title:Learn Early and Learn Fast: Lean Agile VOC in the Age of Rapid Innovation

Workshop Abstract

Learn Early and Learn Fast: Lean Agile VOC in the Age of Rapid Innovation

Traditional VOC techniques, market research, or however you call it have reputations for being slow and data-heavy. Not necessarily characteristics you want in an age of rapid innovation and shrinking product lifecycles. The need for speed has turned most organizations and their application of VOC on its head. Best performers have morphed into "learning organizations" and not decision-obsessed organizations. They have mastered empathy, and know that most decisions (even in business-to-business) are filtered through emotions. They never, never, never ask users what they want or like. Agile organizations are eschewing "concept tests" and metrics like "purchase intent" and have figured out ways to get feedback on tangible things as quickly as possible. And these organizations are winning more and more with their product development efforts. Building agility into, while simultaneously leaning out, their NPD processes has created tremendous opportunities for speed, but equally new risks for product developers to identify and mitigate.

In this highly-interactive three-hour session, you will explore and gain from the following:

  • Cultural shifts in the lean agile organization from data-driven to knowledge-driven
  • Front-end of innovation models for the lean agile organization
  • Effective VOC techniques for the agile organization
  • Skills and capabilities gaps for your organization to achieve lean agile VOC
  • Broadening VOC to include VOE
  • Asking the right questions and having the right metrics
  • How to get quality of feedback vs. obsessing over quantity of feedback

Speaker Biography

Kip Creel is the President and Founder of StandPoint, an Atlanta-based agency specializing in voice-of-the-customer (VOC) studies. Over the past 10 years, StandPoint has generated impactful insights for many notable Fortune 5000 companies in consumer packaged goods, healthcare, and many other B2B markets.

Kip is also the developer of SCORE, an award-winning VOC process used by many companies in their front-end-of-innovation activities. In 2012, StandPoint was named a runner-up for the EXPLOR award, recognizing innovations in market research. Due to the success of SCORE for several of its clients, StandPoint was named a finalist for Atlanta Marketer of the Year in 2013 and the winner of Atlanta Marketer of the Year in 2014.

Company Overview:

As a VOC supplier, StandPoint enables smart product and service development decisions by bringing the customer's voice and ideas to our client's innovation process. The firm's award-winning methodology, SCORE, enables its clients to navigate the front end of innovation and rapidly fill its pipeline with concepts driven by customer input.

StandPoint also pioneered the usage of cognitive styles (the ways in which individuals receive and process information) in maximizing the effectiveness of innovation teams and the contribution of VOC participants.

Stay Tuned - More Innovation Champions to Come

Event Brochure

Event Sponsors

Innovation Framework


Stand point

Keep Me Informed
Sign up for email reminders