Case Study: Designing the Innovation Process at a CPG Brand

How might we align cross-functional stakeholders around a shared process for breakthrough consumer product innovation?

At A Glance:

A health and wellness CPG company

4 weeks


VP of Innovation

Innovation Team

Things are going well for the team—they’ve just completed the first cycle of the process and are really excited…I couldn’t be happier with the output and the team has led us through the process beautifully. A big thank you and shout out to Erin once again for the amazing support and setting us up to win—could not have done it without her.”

VP of Innovation

The Challenge:

After a series of mergers and team re-orgs, a CPG company in the health and wellness space was faced with inconsistent ways of developing new product ideas and unclear roles and responsibilities. In order to keep up with rapidly shifting consumer needs and trends, they needed to quickly develop a common front-end innovation process with more deliberate and effective collaboration across teams. So, they engaged The Design Gym to lead a four-week strategy sprint to help them align on their process in service of developing new products faster.

The Solution:


We began the sprint by onboarding into the organization’s existing strategy and past process designs. We also interviewed stakeholders from the different teams involved: innovation, consumer insights, marketing, and sales. Based on our insights, we defined the objectives, use cases, and requirements for the process, as well as stakeholders, guiding principles, and indicators of success. This was all codified in the process design brief, which informed the rest of the sprint.


Working with a core team of cross-functional leaders, we designed and facilitated a series of co-creation sessions to draft a complete prototype of the  innovation process. This framework outlined the different phases of the process over time, including the key activities, decision points, inputs, outputs, roles, and metrics. We shared this prototype with a group of extended stakeholders to pressure test the process flow and get feedback based on their areas of involvement. 


With the extended stakeholders’ input, we iterated on the process prototype. The  final innovation process framework was distilled into a ready-to-use playbook. However, rather than create a deliverable that collects dust on a digital shelf, we identified in advance a team to adopt the process internally. This ensured the process was ready to guide the work immediately.

The Results

  • 1 codified front-end innovation process that supports the organization’s growth strategy by developing a pipeline of product concepts and accelerating the pace and rigor of new ideas
  • 3 aligned and invested teams ready to test the new process and refine it in service of unlocking collaborative efficiencies
  • Clear objectives, activities, and owners identified for each phase of the process 
  • 20+ KPIs identified to gauge the health of the process, as well as the quality of the outcomes
We were inspired by the Where to Play and How to Win framework to provide a high level structure to the innovation process. Supporting Mindsets, Objectives, and Critical Steps for each phase were defined to give the team a clear playbook for action.
Spark your interest?
The Design Gym
[email protected]

The Design Gym is a strategy and innovation consultancy helping leaders to grow their business by fully unlocking the power of their most important advantage: their people. We work at the intersection of business strategy, experience design, and change management to engage the people that matter most to your work: your customers, your leaders, and your employees. See something that resonates with a project or challenge you're working on? Shoot us a note at [email protected].

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