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Food Fax Edition Part 1 of 4: Caught Out

Posted on May 06 2015 | Author: Carol Culhane

The theme for the 2015 Food Fax series is "Caught Out", an examination of the practice of food adulteration for economic advantage.  The first issue introduces the issue and how reputable members of the food industry are systematically dealing with the issue.  The three subsequent editions of Food Fax 2015 will examine:  the changing role of the regulator as food fraudulence becomes more prevalent; how primary agriculture has become associated with global human trafficking;  and how inferior ingredients pose food safety hazards.

“The man who took chalk out of bread”
Prior to his passing last year, Professor John Postgate, a renowned figure in the field of sulphate- reducing bacteria, wrote a biography of his great- grandfather (his namesake) entitled Lethal Lozenges and Tainted Tea which recounts the fatal effects of adulterated food and drugs of 18th and 19th Century Britain, and the financial sacrifices, perseverance and political will undertaken by Postgate and two colleagues - Hassall and Accum - to bring Britain’s Sale of Food & Drugs Act of 1875 into being. Legislators relied on smell, taste, feel and appearance until a published paper showed that a new invention - the microscope – revealed chicory, roasted corn, ground acorns, bean flour and crushed mangelwurzel in coffee. They were on to something.

Mold, Meat and Misleading in the USA
The USA’s Pure Food and Drugs Act of 1906 was a direct response to Upton Sinclair’s book, The Jungle, written to expose the hardship of immigrant life but also revealed unsanitary conditions in the USA’s meat packing industry. Widespread deaths from an adulterated elixir led the US Congress to enact the Food, Drugs and Cosmetics Act of 1938, expanded to include the oversight of Food Additives in 1958. In 1962, the partner to adulteration, misleading, was first legally curtailed, when Congress required drug manufacturers to provide scientific evidence that their offerings were not only safe, but effective as well.

When Canada was a province
Sections 15-22 of The Statutes of the Province of Canada and the Dominion of Canada and Ontario (1876) deal with the “penalty on persons mixing deleterious articles with food” (first offence, $100 fine; second offence, six months imprisonment with hard labour), and “offering articles so mixed for sale” ($100 and $200 fine, for first and second offences, in turn). As well, the analytical costs related to the conviction were levied. In 1919, a federal Department of Health was formed, followed by the introduction of Canada’s Food and Drugs Act in 1920. Subsequent to the thalidomide tragedy of the 1960’s, drug efficacy was subjected to regulator review, in addition to safety.

Plus ça change
Economically-motivated food adulteration is more prevalent today than ever previously recorded. As food science matures and technology becomes more precise, paradoxically, opportunities for fraudulence to gain an economic advantage have increased. The Rockland, MD-based USP (U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention), who purchased the Food Chemicals Codex in 2008, published a Food Fraud Database in 2012. Recordkeeping, analytical skills, and stakeholder collaboration have identified the foods most susceptible to being passed off¹:

Most prone to clone Some whys and wherefores
Olive Oil Dilution with inferior oils; natural forces curtail supply, leading to price increases; buyers are motivated.
Fish and Seafood Higher-priced varieties replaced by those of lesser value
Milk and Milk Ingredients Milk from cows adulterated with milk from sheep, buffalo, and goat antelope and with reconstituted milk powder, urea, rennet, and other food and nonfood products.
Natural Sweetening Agents such as Honey and Maple Syrup Colour, sweetness, and viscosity can be mimicked; honey: rising prices due to Colony Collapse Disorder
Saffron To the world's most expensive spice has been added: glycerin, tartrazine, sandalwood dust, barium sulphate, and borax
Expensive Fruit Juices

Such as pomegranate, diluted with apple juice

Coffee See second paragraph!

¹Mermelstein N. 2015. Fighting Food Fraud. Food Technology. Vol. 69 No. 3.

What the Food Industry is Doing
The naysayers abound, as surely as they did when Sinclair published The Jungle. Yet, reputable members of the food industry refuse to be smeared by crooks. The USP has published Guidance on Food Fraud Mitigation, a framework, matrix and flowchart to assist all members of the food industry to fend off food shikesters of every description.

Carol T. Culhane, PHEc, MBA
President, International Food Focus Ltd.
Bioenterprise Regulatory Advisor
 






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Marketing in a Browsing Society (3 of 4)

Posted on October 27 2014 | Author: Carol Culhane

The 4 p's of marketing
This third edition of Food Fax 2014 delves into the effect of the Internet on “price”, one of the four p’s of the Marketing Mix, which collectively are place, product, price, promotion.

Three Big Hits on the Pocketbook
Consistent with previous findings, Statistics Canada’s most recent Survey of Household Spending (2012 data, released 2014) identifies the major costs effecting Canadian households: shelter (28.1%), transportation (19.9%) and food (13.8%).

Shelter and Real Estate Data Gaps
The Internet has not exerted any downward pressure on housing costs in Canada. The International Monetary Fund warns that Canada has the most overvalued housing market in the world. Low mortgage rates since 2008, which have spurred demand and inflated prices, is only one factor. Real estate boards closely hold critical, raw, property data, such that banks, governments and consumers have access only to the data the boards choose to release. In 2013, the Competition Bureau sued the TREB (Toronto Real Estate Board) as to this anti- competitive behaviour, and lost on a technicality. The court ruled that TREB was inaptly cited under section 79 of the Competition Act, rather than section 90 which deals with trade associations (even though they do not have competitors per se). The issue continues to simmer; the Huffington Post recently published a series on real estate data gaps.

Transportation and Transparency
At 2 people per sq. km, Canada has one of the lowest population densities on the planet, resulting in hefty long-distance phone bills and disproportionate transportation expenses. Transparency of dealer costs is on call at sites such as CarCostCanada.com and Unhaggle.com. However, a prospective buyer may need to adjust their expectations. As Cars.Cost Helper in the USA forewarns, demand can outstrip supply in specific regions - such as Toyota’s Prius® in the States of California and Massachusetts - allowing the dealer to close at the MSRP or higher.

Food: Small Ticket, Big Purchase
While the ticket price may be small, the collective impact is significant. In its most recent estimate (May 2013), the USDA estimated the monthly moderate-cost food budget for a family of four to be US$750 (excluding foodservice). The same family unit in Canada has a monthly expenditure of C$680 (Statistics Canada, 2012 data published 2014) on grocery food and C$240 on foodservice purchases.

In Canada, all the major grocers publish their flyers online, allowing the same compare-and-shop as the hardcopy version. Loblaw's Weekly Flyer can be matched to your neighbourhood store; Sobey's aggressively blocks entry to their website until a drop-down registration form to receive an electronic weekly flyer is either completed or declined. While there are currently no formal studies which confirm that the Internet has resulted in lower food prices, in the USA, CompareGroceryPrices.org has made an attempt to achieve just that. The upstart lists the prices of select foods as sold at Aldi’s®, Trader Joe’s®, Kroger® and Publix®, and encourages users to suggest new products and additional stores.

Big Mac Index & Interactive Currency
Burgernomics was created by The Economist in 1986 as a lighthearted way to quickly determine if exchange currencies are correct, and to make exchange-rate theory “more digestible”.
“... the Big Mac Index has become a global standard, included in several economic textbooks and the subject of at least 20 academic studies. For those who take their fast food more seriously, we have also calculated a gourmet version of the index.”

As of July 2014, against the Euro, the C$ was over- valued by 6.0%, and the US$ was under-valued by 3.2%. While The Big Mac Index has many critics, its supporters maintain it some legitimacy. When the Euro was first launched in 1999, its over-valuation was correctly reported by The Big Mac Index. Regardless, Burgernomics continues to entertain professional and armchair economists, online.

Carol T. Culhane, PHEc, MBA
President, International Food Focus Ltd.
Bioenterprise Regulatory Advisor
 

 






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Marketing in a Browsing Society (2 of 4)

Posted on September 25 2014 | Author: Carol Culhane

The 4 p’s of marketing
This second edition of Food Fax 2014 delves into the effect of the Internet on “product”, one of the four p’s of the Marketing Mix, which collectively are place, product, price, promotion. The review begins with a commentary on the Internet itself as a product and a service.

NET Neutrality
Recently, several stakeholders have united to ensure equal access to the Internet by every person with an online hookup, so as to maintain the ‘Net as the information gateway, data pool and socio- economic leveler it has become. The basic premise holds that the WWW must not be deliberately filtered or withheld by any one government, corporation, NGO or individual. In April, Brazil hosted an internet governance conference, NETMundial, attended by 1200+ delegates from a cross-section of the globe, to achieve two goals: assessment of the equality of the Internet’s accessibility, and, delineated action to either return to a state of universal fairness or secure it for the future. The general consensus reveals that stakeholders are satisfied with the current level of global access, however, intervention is needed to retain neutrality from this point forward. One journalist summed up the concluding sentiment with a quote from di Lampedusa’s classic novel The Leopard “If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change”.

Food E-vangelists
Corporations have had to relinquish a degree of brand ownership and control to consumers, who through social media, can dictate product composition. Ingredient statements come under scrutiny at the site www.whatsinthisstuff.com. Teenager-cum-food critic Sarah Kavanagh has mounted successful online campaigns to remove – to name a few – brominated vegetable oil from PoweradeTM (Coca-Cola) and GatoradeTM (Pepsico) as well as the dough proofer azodicarbonamide from Subway’sTM buns.

For every cloud...
It’s not all downside. Both local and global mandate products can now profitably penetrate niche markets, owing to an online presence and IT.

...there is a silver lining
Any recall of clouds’ illusions is quickly resolved in the Financial Times’ instructive Understanding Cloud Computing, the forerunner to an article specific to product development Power to the People on Product Design [©The Financial Times Limited 2014].

FT concludes that today’s winning and innovative manufacturer will use cloud technology to locate, validate and define niche markets, then, create an infrastructure to service heretofore economically- prohibitive or remote segments, chiefly through R&D cost reduction and flexible manufacturing.

“chocolate made with cloud” ©Lindt Ltd.
The Economist is not where one would expect to find a full-page ad for chocolates, claiming “now Lindt can deliver custom chocolates to consumers anywhere in the [UK, US, etc.]”. This new LindtTM- IBMTM joint venture, more commonly promoted through you tube videos and business commentary, features customization and scale as a dynamic duo, and credits the cloud for tripled chocolate sales volume from mobile devices alone. In another application, cloud technology can enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of food safety programs. Cloud-based food safety management systems integrates several platforms (HACCP, BRC, FSMA, etc.) and can instantly produce traceability records.

“On cloud nine” has taken on a new meaning in the 21st Century.

Carol T. Culhane, PHEc, MBA
President, International Food Focus Ltd.
Bioenterprise Regulatory Advisor






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Marketing in a Browsing Society (Part 1 of 4)

Posted on March 28 2014 | Author: Carol Culhane

The 4 p’s of marketing
The four p’s of marketing are as fundamental to the practice as are basic accounting principles to the discipline of finance. Also known as the “marketing mix”, the 4 p’s of marketing are familiar to those with formal marketing training, yet tend to be relatively unknown amongst practitioners in other fields of business.

Place Product Price Promotion


First conceived in the 1960’s by academic Jerome E. McCarthy, the 4 p's of the marketing mix have been known to swell to eight in number and more, with suggested candidates such as people, policy, processes, programs, patrons, performance and even politics. However, after scrutiny, debate and evaluation, the academicians and more skilled practitioners concur that any additional p’s are truly subsets of one of the original “fab four”. The experts further conclude that the addition of more p’s to the marketing mix would obscure the four-way dynamic and interconnected synergy that is the aim and prospect of a well-designed marketing mix. Similar to the four essentials of a shelter - foundation, roof, side and entrance – each of the 4 p’s has a distinct composition, requiring quality material and skilled workmanship to function at full potential.

Composition of the four cornerstones
A detailed look reveals the independence as well as interconnectedness of each p, as follows: Place: location (region or nation? urban or rural? concrete or virtual? a retail lease on main street or in a mall?); competitors; regulations; distribution; customers; consumers; population density; climate. Product: composition; brand name; quality; after-sales service; packaging; site or country of manufacture. Price: costs; revenue; profit margin; breakeven; taxes. Promotion: personal selling: in-store salesperson, commercial sales representative, online sales; sales promotion: trial offer; introductory or competitive price discounts; public relations: press coverage, social media, community involvement; advertising: website; commercials; brochures.

Which p is the hardest to change?
The 4 p’s and the marketing mix are not exclusive to business. Public sector entities, educational institutions, healthcare facilities, associations and NGO’s all have the 4 p’s, knowingly or not. When refined, the marketing mix works like a four-sided, multi-pronged tool, modified and fine-tuned to suit the needs at hand.

The mantra of “location, location, location” is an expression of this fact. Get it right, and the overall mandate is easier to deliver. If out of sync, the other 3 p’s are compromised; disproportionate resources and efforts are expended to balance the mix.

The hardest p to change, is that which continues to change most rapidly
In a browsing society, by necessity, each p of the marketing mix has a virtual online presence, either with or without a concrete, bricks-and-mortar equivalent. While place is the hardest p to change, every organization faces a virtual place in either a state of flux or perpetual re-creation. Prices can be quickly compared – and changed; product manuals are posted or downloadable; websites are, as has come to be expected, a 24/7 salesforce; online point-of-sale is becoming increasingly commonplace.

Some food industry virtual statistics
Stats Canada reports that 18% of internet users regularly buy groceries online, twice the 2010 statistic.  Online wine and beer sales in Canada and liquor sales in the USA are thriving. A UK online grocery guru predicts the tipping point – online versus store – will occur when online prices are discount to those in-store. If so, convenience stores are anticipated to boom as the source of mid-cycle replenishment while conventional grocer outlets will diminish.

Carol T. Culhane, PHEc, MBA
President, International Food Focus Ltd.
Bioenterprise Regulatory Advisor






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Innovation and Commercialization Part 4 of 4

Posted on December 17 2013 | Author: Carol Culhane

Regulations - a Trajectory
Addressing a Life Sciences Ontario audience recently, Cameron Piron, CEO, Synaptive Medical (2nd start-up venture for this 30-something Canadian, having sold his first company for $85M+) summed up the regulatory barriers which impact on his solution-focused medical devices (used by 18/20 of the top US Cancer Centers):

  • Bar constantly changing as technology and market changes
  • No world-wide synchronization
  • Regulatory environment moves opposite to innovation - understandable

He gets it – understandably. All life science legislation must be scientifically sound.  Regulations lag behind the laboratory, leveling the playing field.

The Anomaly of Organic Food
UK organic food regulations became law in 1987, a decade before the dormant sector erupted.  The basis of all organic food trade today, the UK organic food regs stem from guidelines and standards set in 1967 by an NGO, the UK Soil Association.  Two major forces in the 1990’s dramatically reduced UK consumer confidence in conventional farming:  the launch of genetically-modified food, closely followed by an unrelated outbreak of BSE disease in UK cattle. The organic food sector thrived due to pre-existent regs.  Two supply factors curtailed growth: inadequate volume, due to a mandatory 3-5 year washout period of conventionally-fertilized soil, and, no federal organic food regs in other nations – required to claim imported food as organic in UK/EU markets.  The current Cda and USA organic regs pleaded for by North American stakeholders has facilitated exports and spurred domestic demand. 

The Canadian Organic Food Sector totaled $3.5B in 2012, triple the 2006 value. The American Organic Food Sector grew 11% Y/Y in 2012 to US$28B.  A life science? Innovation? A life science sector kept unto itself, organic food lacks the distinctive mark – industry turmoil without new market creation – of disruptive innovation.  It is part radical innovation in that only a portion of conventional food has been displaced.  However, worth watching, one study claims organic agriculture can indeed feed the world.

Water Quality, Fracking, Due Diligence
Some methods of extracting gas from the earth’s crust significantly contribute to the carbon footprint.  Separately, farmers are concerned about water supply, quality and cost. An innovation, hydraulic fracturing (fracking), accesses subterranean gas with much less carbon generation but may contaminate the water table. Accordingly, at least two fracking proposals in Canada’s eastern provinces have been stalled, due to citizen resistance and East Coast wit.

Younger concedes that the US approach has been one of trial and error. It remains to be seen if fracking can meet his description, and if regulatory control can render fracking economically feasible and environmentally safe, inclusive of water quality.

Motor Power Enters the Streets of London - Call for Regulations  23 August 1913, The Tablet
The application of motor power to vehicles has revolutionized the traffic of London, and with the growth of it the danger to life and limb has also shown a proportionate increase. […] a Select Committee was appointed to inquire into the problem and recommend means for ensuring the safety, especially, of foot passengers in the streets. […]  in 1907 there were 3, 866 horse cabs and 5, 952 hansoms licensed.  There are now only 2, 385 of the two together.  In 1907 there were 2, 961 horse omnibuses and tramcars and 2, 973 electric trams and motor omnibuses.  The last horse bus has now run its last journey through the City.  

In 1912, there were 5, 767 electric trams and motor omnibuses, and the smaller powered vehicles included 8,000 motor cabs…Among the minor recommendations or suggestions are the following:  Tramcars and omnibuses alike should have speed registers; all driving offences should be endorsed on the license; motor horns should be of a standard type; dazzling head-lamps in lighted streets should be prohibited; all slow vehicles should keep to the kerb; unsound vehicles should be prohibited in the streets.  Upon one point the recommendations have been keenly criticized, that which gives the control of traffic, routes, time-tables, and the number of stage carriages to be used, to the County Councils.

Carol T. Culhane, PHEc, MBA
President, International Food Focus Ltd.
Bioenterprise Regulatory Advisor






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Innovation and Commercialization Part 3 of 4

Posted on September 27 2013 | Author: Carol Culhane

Game-Changers... Same Market or New?
Innovation may be classified as radical, disruptive or incremental.  Radical innovation is invasive. It establishes its own new market and sends incumbent markets into history books.  The automobile displaced the horse and carriage.  Disruptive innovation is one which causes turmoil in an industry, but does not create new markets. As to if smartphones are a disruptive innovation over cellphones depends on whether a new market for hand-held communication devices was created with the smartphone launch.  Both radical and disruptive innovations are game-changers. On-line shopping has certainly been a game-changer in the retail sector.  Has it created new markets (radical) or simply caused turmoil (disruptive)?

How Next Happens
Incremental innovation is how ‘next’ happens. Defined as “an improvement in the cost or functionality of an existing product in an existing market”, a BI Norwegian School of Management Thesis  concluded that “most progress in society is achieved through incremental innovation, which is far more frequent and economically predictable than radical innovation”.  Two car-based examples are the GPS and IPAS (Intelligent Parking Assist System), standard new features on several car brands.  Both were first launched as a personal-car feature 10 years ago, yet only recently matured to a technologically-dependable and cost-effective proposition.  Neither feature is radical (no expansion or displacement in the personal car market).  Are these features disruptive to the automotive sector?  Would a driver examiner permit use of an IPAS during the parallel-parking portion of a driver’s test? If so, is this fair to those without access to an IPAS? The topic would become a moot point should all cars eventually include an IPAS, in which case correct operation could be an evaluation point.  Is a GPS a hazardous distraction from a driver’s attention?  Or, will GPS-equipped cars net on the upside? - due to less time being lost, ability to schedule travel time, less need to frantically confirm the name of a street, more timely arrivals, etc.  As society decides these matters, any market upheaval is a consequence.

Getting to Next
“I don’t see much new here” sighed the trade-show attendee, an IT expert on the fringe of the food industry.  On the surface, an accurate observation.  However, the IFT Innovation Awards Committee evaluated 62 entries, many of which could be described as incremental:  a more soluble, true-salt-flavour sodium replacement; a sanitization system which greatly reduces water and energy usage; an edible gold glitter. Incremental innovation moves in increments (if at all) and is a timely process.  In addition to taxing the patience and resources of the entrepreneur, a willing and engaged consumer is mandatory, to shed a bit of the customary methods so as to make way for, and embrace, the new.

A Course for Improvers
The 1000-year old Buckfast Abbey in Devon, England offers bee-keeping courses to serve three levels of apiarists, or honey farmers: beginners, one-day workshops and… improvers! There is no mention of ‘advanced’ courses here or a place for those who may describe themselves as such.  The Buckfast history provides clues to this choice of words, as the pages are peppered with “drastic change” “immediate and fundamental transformation” and “rebuild” interspersed with long periods of calm and civil livelihood.  Centuries of experience has allowed the apiarists to recognize and value the counterpoint activity of continuous improvement, and the factors which foster it.

An Enduring Example
One of the world’s leading companies in the frozen food sector is “Newlyweds”.  In 1932, a founder created a smash success when he layered ice cream onto a sheet cake and rolled the two into a frozen pinwheel.  The company was re-named “newlywed”, having newly married cake and ice cream. Today, the company owes its success to having “consistently invested in infrastructure, human resources and capacity”.

Carol T. Culhane, PHEc, MBA
President, International Food Focus Ltd.
Bioenterprise Regulatory Advisor






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Innovation and Commercialization Part 2 of 4

Posted on June 27 2013 | Author: Carol Culhane

Create, Adopt or Adapt
Cultures evolve and are transformed by the curiosity and dedication of only a few individuals. Game-changing inventions – the type that alter lives and life-patterns forever – can be attributed to a finite number of people. The remaining members of society are either early adopters or adapters. An essential part of every product life cycle, early adopters are those who are first to use a new technology, buy the latest fashions, try a new flavour. Adapters emerge later, coerced into aligning with forces around them, either because adherence to methods of the past is awkward or obsolete.

The Psychology of Creativity
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi – a “less well-known but probably one of the most serious management scholars of recent times” – in his widely-quoted thesis Creativity - Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention¹ describes creativity as “the attempt to expand the boundaries of a domain”. Mihaly has identified four major internal, yet surmountable obstacles to the creative process: too many demands; too many distractions from psychic energy; laziness, or lack of discipline; and, not knowing how to channel one’s creative energy.
Steve Jobs and Albert Einstein dealt with the first two obstacles in a similar manner: Einstein wore the same old sweater and baggy trousers every day; Jobs stocked his wardrobe with one colour-black. Each iconic inventor found the decision of what to wear each day - an example of what Mihaly calls “the wear and tear of existence” - a taxing drain on their creative reserves.
Laziness or lack of discipline can be overcome through increasing complexity of the task, keeping the mind engaged and curious. Creative energy can be harnessed by taking up a hobby: learn to draw; play a musical instrument, bridge or chess; or, cook like a gourmand. Mihaly claims that by internalizing and mastering the “system” – rules, rewards and rationale – of a non-essential domain, the human mind experiences a freedom within which to explore various pathways to stated goals, and transfers this skill set to other tasks.

Fascination with the Everyday
A recently-released BBC documentary, Isaac Newton: The Last Magician reveals a curious, systematic mind and disciplined nature exemplary of the requirements observed and advocated by Mihaly. Newton was interested in practical problems (alleviation of flatulence: steep horse dung in ale, express juices, drink), kept meticulous notes (confessed to the sins of “making pies on a Sunday night” or “punching my sister”) and like many over- achievers, never felt that he had finished anything, nor had solved a problem for all time. Lastly, no apple fell on his head.

Tenacity and Famous Failures
One particular trait of most of the world’s most famous creators, inventors and leaders was pig-headedness, as they trudged and trail-blazed to the success(es) for which they are known. Michael Michalko – an acclaimed creativity expert with an approach different than that of the academic Mihaly – refers to the 10 famous failures - 10 dreams fulfilled. Among them, Bill Gates, Abraham Lincoln, Oprah Winfrey, J.K. Rowling and from the food industry, Colonel Sanders:

The failure: Despite having the now-famous fried chicken recipe, he was rejected 1008 times before a restaurant took it in. 1008! Oh and he also went to all 1009 restaurants on his own by driving his van and sleeping in it.
The success: You see it yourself today. KFC is a worldwide brand in the fast food industry and the finger-licking good chicken is here to stay.

The Creative, Tenacious Entrepreneur
Entrepreneurs “expand the boundaries of a domain”. As creative as artists, they develop something new and tenaciously overcome and resist doubting dissenters. Moreover, they believe in the ability of their undertakings to change part of the present into a positive, promising future.

¹ISBN 0-06-017133-2

Carol T. Culhane, PHEc, MBA
President, International Food Focus Ltd.
Bioenterprise Regulatory Advisor






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Innovation & Commercialization Part 1 of 4

Posted on March 27 2013 | Author: Carol Culhane

Quote
“To live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often.” Theologian John Henry Newman (1801-1890); a similar variation is widely attributed to Winston Churchill (1874-1953).

The Ubiquity of the Word “Innovation”
It’s everywhere. Publicly-funded agencies are dedicated to it. Newly-formed businesses spin it into a corporate name. Training seminars and university courses are mandated to teach it. Organizations of every description are warned to do it or die. The word “innovation” is bandied around much like the word ‘strategy’ was treated during the 1980’s - with hefty investment of scarce resources dedicated to the concept, yet, without definition, established criteria, and, objective means of measurement.

…What is it?
An objective, comprehensive, tested-and-true characterization hails from the authoritative OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, author of Oslo Manual for measuring innovation), which defines four types of innovation - product, process, marketing and organizational:

Lessons from the Past; Examples for the Future
“Best is the enemy of Good Enough”
The first model need not be perfect, or complete.
The Blackberry® has undergone several improvements since first launched as a wireless email pager in 1999. Blackberry Inc. (formerly RIM) took a page from the tin can. The steel can patent of 1810 preceded the first canning factory of 1813. Filling rate was automated and increased 10 fold, to 60 cans per hour, in 1846. The first can opener was patented in 1858, almost 50 years after the tin can patent. The Arctic was explored by men carrying cans of food to be opened with a hammer and chisel.
“Necessity is the Mother of Invention”
Fulfillment of consumer need and marketing pull will sustain and perpetuate commercialization.
In 1863, London England was a global political, financial and trading centre, with 3 million citizens and limited transportation options. The automobile had not yet been invented. The Underground aka “the tube” - a network of tunnels, tracks and trains - was developed “to keep the congested city moving”, forever changing public transportation in every major metropolis of the world. In fulfillment of consumer requirements, Summer Olympics’ demands, and to mark the tube’s 150th anniversary, wifi coverage is available at selected stations as of June 2012.

Safety of Tradition; Risk of Innovation
Who is cradling tradition? Who is not threatened by the complexity of the modern world but rather, invigorated and enriched by it? Which organizations have the necessary degree of self-appraisal to thrive? What is required to operate in a context of challenging uncertainty? Where is the talent to anticipate consumer needs and identify solutions?

Subsequent Editions of Food Fax®
Over the course of the year Food Fax® will report on the defining characteristics of successful and game-changing innovations, such as: the daily rituals, mindset and tenacity of classic inventors, and, the role of technology in commercializing ideas.

Carol T. Culhane, PHEc, MBA
President, International Food Focus Ltd.
Bioenterprise Regulatory Advisor






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