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Searching for Ideas in Unexpected Places

New Ventures at Abbott, David Beno

— March 28, 2017 — Business
David Beno works in the New Ventures category of the Global Healthcare and Research brand Abbott, and he recently spoke to Trend Hunter about how he finds ideas for the organization as part of his role.

How does your team generate great ideas?

It’s mostly through individual contributions being brought forward and then being amplified by the group. There’s a couple ways we do it, one was is to have big ideation or brainstorming sessions but we found that those don’t work so well so what we’ve done is, someone brings in the kernel of an idea and then we “riff” on that idea.

Do you have specific rituals for resetting to be creative?

What we do is we have weekly ideation sessions where people will bring in ideas and then discuss them. If somebody brings in a kernel of an idea, we pick on that idea and then build on it. And so we’ll do that for 2-3 different ideas each week.

I try to go as blank as I can without any preconceived notions, and then I just start looking. If I’m in my mode, cause that’s part of my job, when I do that I do occasionally just say I’m going to go “idea looking” and just block out a set of time to do it. To be very direct, that kind of works but never really works. The ideas always come at unexpected times, where a connection is made that wasn’t there before. The traditional “standing in the shower” thinking, or I’m about to fall asleep and I come up with an idea. But the homework that I do when I’m in that “hunting” mode is what builds that database for me to pull things from.

What do you think your industry will look like in the next 5-10 years?

In our current state, I think our industry will become formulaic and in Jeremy’s phraseology, very “farmer oriented.” The two things that we do in our company are infant formula and then adult nutritionals for older people, and so those two areas there’s a tried and true path forward, just keep going and doing what we do. From that aspect we’re farmers and that’s the way that the industry is going with regulations and reimbursements from hospitals. So we’re trying to find new ways, models and products.

What's the most unconventional thing you've done to get creative inspiration?

Lumberjacking.
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