Market Research is pointless for food & drink innovators…


…if it’s not backed up with real customer insight.

Manufacturing consultancy Newton has released a report which claims food manufacturers and retailers in the UK grocery industry waste £2.7 billion annually on product innovations that consumers do not want or prove too expensive to produce.

However, the report claims that if companies focused on products consumers want rather than basing innovations on ‘gut feelings’, the industry could generate up to £233 million in profit from new products and offset the £2.7 billion wastage.

These findings are not a surprise to us, we see it all the time.

What’s the point of knowing how large the addressable market is, if none of these customers are going to actually buy your new product?

We’ve come across very few SMEs that put any real effort into identifying the true needs and attitudes of their target audience.

Of the few that do, most stake everything on their own internal assumptions, those “gut feelings”.

And of the fewer still that actually go and ask the customers what they think, they do it at the wrong time – post-launch, when sales start to fall and they need to protect their shelf space.



Customer insight should come in the very early stages of the innovation process, not at the end. Before your business wastes any time and money on developing products that aren’t wanted – go ask the customers what they really need. And what they need enough to pay for.

To find out more, please get in touch

Too smart to ask your customers….?

Picture this…

An established SME developing a new product, aiming to broaden their offer and step-change their growth curve.

They have a disruptive idea, and are on to a winner. They also have a team of sector experts who really know their stuff and understand their customers. here's how it goes...

  • Feature design comes easily, they're soon ready to build
  • It looks amazing
  • Testing – yep, it all works
  • Launch!!!

Then no-one buys it, because no-one really needs it enough to pay for it.

And even if they did, the features aren’t quite right for the target market.

18 months of development time and investment wasted, and the core business has also suffered because the focus was on the exciting new idea.

Is the CEO’s jacket on a shoogly peg?


So let's rewind…

Got a disruptive idea…ask potential customers what they think. Do they need it, does it address their challenges, would they pay for it?

Feature design comes easilyask potential customers what they think. Do they need it, does it address their challenges, would they pay for it?

Ready to build? No, not yet. Create a prototype and ask customers what they think.

Now build. With the confidence that you’ve designed a propositioned based on the true needs of your target audience.

Smart move

Understanding the true needs and challenges that customers face is key to creating a successful proposition, yet very few businesses get their customers properly involved in the process. Why is this?

For start-ups it can be a daunting prospect, the fear of negative feedback. What if people don’t like my idea, think I’m daft, wasting my time and money?

For an SME what’s the excuse? Over-confidence? Not enough time? Don’t know how? Think insight is too expensive?

Never even considered it is a more likely scenario.

PB, Proposition Builder

An end-to-end innovation process that includes 3 different stages of customer testing before you commit to building your new product.

Worth a look?


PB, Proposition Builder – an end-to-end innovation process for SMEs


We’re proud to announce PB, an end-to-end innovation process based on the challenges and experiences of our clients.

Our aim has always been to provide SMEs with access to the level of support that large corporate businesses take for granted. In most cases “access” means affordable but it also means fit for purpose…


PB meets one of the most common needs of our clients - support in knowing what to do next. Removing the fear of failure, giving businesses the confidence that they have a process that reduces risk and increases the chances of success.  

Simple, pragmatic, real.

So, we’ve designed PB on these principles, a step by step guide to developing a new proposition. Any sector, any size of business. Simple enough for SMEs to follow on their own, and sharing our own workshop techniques and methods.

We’re even providing our bespoke templates to download.

Obviously the best and easiest way for us to get our model out there was by APP. By happy coincidence Edinburgh is also home to Beezer…revolutionising the World of APP development with their PWA builder. Their aim is to make APP development accessible to all size of businesses, and we think they’re doing an awesome job so far.

The PB App will be completely free of charge during 2018 while we constantly add features and functionality to improve its usefulness - we've launched with our MVP version because we just wanted to get it out there. 


Now we hope to develop it around the needs and suggestions of a community of willing users, innovators, partners and associates. 

And we'll be calling on the same community to help us develop the Innovation Process - a truly collaborative effort. So, if you want to get involved – get in touch!

CEOs – how can we unblock innovation within SMEs?


Staying ahead of the competition.

Driving growth.

Keeping the business fresh and the team motivated.


The benefits can be huge, so why is innovation such a problem for many SMEs?

Well, this isn’t exactly breaking news, but fear of failure can be a big problem for the businesses that need to innovate the most. So say Forbes, Harvard and many other studies.

Kind of contradicts all things “Agile” doesn’t it…“fail fast, fail cheaply” and all that? But when it comes to the crunch, the key motivational factor for many CEOs is what happens if it bombs? What if it doesn’t sell, if it costs too much to develop, or takes too long?


Will it cost me my job, my bonus, my reputation, my career prospects?

And will it damage the day-to-day core business into the bargain?


The question is, what can you do about it? It’s all very well asking a CEO to embrace failure to unleash true innovation…aye right. Meanwhile in the real world….?

What you seek is control, to feel confident that you can de-risk the project and increase the chances of success.


So how will you find that confidence, to unblock innovation within your business and embrace change whole-heartedly?

“No-one ever got fired for hiring McKinsey”…which is awesome if you have the budget.

But what if you don’t?