Alex Tipton
Research and Development Director, Discovery and Disruption


Innovation in any field is always more valuable if it is easily understood by key stakeholders. One of the best ways to do that is through communicating the value quickly and effectively through storytelling. Our brains are hard wired to process and retain stories and during this session we discussed tips for storytelling, covered two case studies on innovation and learned the power of delivering a powerful pitch!

• Techniques to deliver a fast, effective pitch to Leadership or customers to help them see the value of your innovation
• Insight on enabling simple explanations of technical concepts and how to tie that into your innovation message
• Storytelling 101: Blueprint your capability around describing why people should get excited about your innovation through understanding of all the key components of what makes up a good story
• A framework for how disruption is defined by large companies that will help you answer key questions like ‘Should a company develop innovation that disrupts itself?’

Let’s begin by recognizing that nobody is a master storyteller. But what happens when you step on that elevator and the CEO wants to hear your big idea? Do you nail this moment? What would make your boss learn of a problem and then leave feeling good about the solution? Tell a story. Invent globally and delight locally. Come up with the idea. Sell it–internally then externally. Then, you need a great pitch. We’re going to talk about how to improve your pitch and your storytelling.

Once you have an idea, you have to sell it internally and externally. No easy task. Let’s start with the pitch and the storyboard. Settle on a meaningful problem and examine how your idea is going to fix the problem. This requires defining what’s unique about your idea.

Cracker Jack Case Study
Alex’s presented his experience with the Cracker Jack campaign. The Sailor Jack logo skewed a little young and PepsiCo wanted to build on the brand and showcase it in the marketplace. So they envisioned an older version of Sailor Jack. Additionally, they wanted to make “snacks with impact” that could be placed in the peg section of convenience stores.

This meant that they had to target millennial males. According to Alex, this demographic is always hungry and they want snacks that give them a boost. To meet this need, PepsiCo changed Cracker Jack flavors and added protein to the Cracker Jacks. The targeted group also wants snacks that supply sustained energy, so PepsiCo also changed the molecular make-up of Cracker Jacks. They maintained the same level of sweetness, but now it takes longer to break down the sugar and ingredients, so the eater doesn’t crash. And oh yes, the product name is no longer “Cracker Jack.” Now it’s Cracker Jack’D!

Storytelling is Key
The key to getting this idea pushed through the internal PepsiCo pipeline was the storytelling component! Rather than bore executives with hard to understand chemistry, the team showed them a funny visual of a much longer visual chain. It worked. This is how Steve Jobs explained the iPhone. When he talked about the iPhone, he didn’t discuss the technology aspects. He didn’t get caught up in jargon; he simply said it was magic! He called it the multi-touch. Most consumers don’t care about the technical jargon, so think about your audience.

When it comes to your pitch, choose a simple way to demonstrate how your product or idea works. Don’t start with lots of details and go to less. Instead, work from the broad and then become more detailed. Consider this Charles Mingus quote: “Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creative.”

• When telling your story or making your pitch, it’s important to be enthusiastic
• Rehearse your speech whenever the opportunity arises and practice delivering it
• Explain your idea, and tell your story so anybody can understand
• The final component is simplicity

Communication is vital in any organization and being able to convey ideas simply and with enthusiasm is paramount. To effectively illustrate your innovation, you need to consider the audience and synthesize complex information so the listener can see it and get excited about it along with you.

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