For Grupo Nutresa, innovation is one of the key elements of future success, as it drives changes and is considered a factor of differentiation. Therefore, it maintains the momentum and motivation of its programs, improves the understanding of innovation in all the processes of the Organization, enhances intra–entrepreneurship, focuses efforts on innovation, develops a network of flexible operations allowing regional results, and mitigates the risk due to the concentration of results in one type of business through the development of new business models that represent the most relevant opportunities.
Similarly, Grupo Nutresa contemplates a series of risks, before which it acts preventively. These are: little opportunity to identify changes in the environment, dismantling of the (internal and external) innovation networks, a slower response than the demand of the environment, loss of sensitive information, brain drain or low ability to attract them.
As part of the innovation model, knowledge management is aimed at the development of organizational learning, through collaborative work. In 2014, we designed our own model to measure the level of maturity of knowledge management in four dimensions: strategy, culture, processes and appropriation of information technologies to manage knowledge. With this model, a diagnosis was made in all the companies in Colombia – and some abroad – and served as input to build the framework for action in knowledge management toward the Grupo Nutresa Mega 2020.
In 2014, the synergy communities continued to be cornerstones for the joint construction of knowledge. As another tool for its dynamics, the Campus Nutresa corporate social network was implemented in all the Grupo Nutresa companies through a strategy of open culture, to provide spaces for participation and collaboration to facilitate the creation, preservation and transfer of knowledge among employees.
Noteworthy this year is also the Third Annual Encounter of Synergy Communities – Sinergia Da Vince – to share achievements during 2014, discuss the challenges for 2015 and discuss issues to be resolved regarding the Grupo Nutresa strategies. Noteworthy also is the consolidation of the corporate social network, with 2,500 users and more than 200 virtual communities. We expect to reach 4,000 users in Campus Nutresa in 2015.
In Grupo Nutresa, research as a component of the innovation model is conducted in the research centers of the Businesses and in Vidarium. The latter aims to generate and manage knowledge in nutrition, healthy eating and wellness, by conducting basic and applied scientific research, training human resources, generating new–knowledge products, strategic surveillance, and contributing to the social appropriation of science, technology and innovation.
Since beginning its operation, Vidarium has developed 13 research projects and has generated new knowledge through 15 scientific articles and books. It has also participated in 44 national and international events and has contributed to the formation of 12 under–graduate students, young researchers, and Masters and Doctoral students.
These results have been obtained in the development of its three lines of investigation, framed in cardiovascular health, gastrointestinal health and obesity: antioxidants, dietary modulators of the microbiota, and food components.
Vidarium strives to be a recognized actor in the National Science, Technology and Innovation System, and it participates in the recognition and classification process that Colciencias carries out for this purpose.
During 2014, Vidarium participated in national and international academic events and, as a result, was honored with three important awards:
- First Place in the ACTA/Acufanud Food and Nutrition Category. XII International Congress of Food Science and Technology – CONACTA – with the work “Chronic coffee consumption improves the antioxidant capacity of plasma without affecting the lipid profile and vascular function. A clinical test.” .
- Second Place in the Category “Best Institutional Work”. The XXV Colombian Congress of Cardiology and Cardiovascular Surgery. “The chronic consumption of filtered coffee with the contribution of antioxidants improves the antioxidant capability of plasma without affecting the lipid profile in healthy adults. A clinical test.”
- Second Place, José Félix Patiño Research Award in Metabolism and Nutritional Support. XXVIII Annual Congress: Advances in Metabolism and Nutritional Support, with the work “The consumption of filtered coffee with the contribution of antioxidants improves the antioxidant capability of plasma without affecting the lipid profile in healthy adults. A clinical test.”
Vidarium was also selected in the Colciencias Summons 617 to support Young Researchers and Innovators, by granting scholarships–internships. Thanks to this summons, during 2014 and until the first quarter of 2015, Nutritionist–Dietitian Natalia Zuluaga Arroyave and Biologist Juan Jacobo de la Cuesta are working on two Vidarium research projects.Similarly, Vidarium achieved co–financing for research projects in the Science, Technology and Innovation in Health Summons 657 and Engineering Research and Development Projects Summons 669, as well as a summons for specialized training through partial scholarships from the Argentine–Brazilian Center for Biotechnology (CABBIO); all these summons were from Colciencias.
: In 2014, this program to recognize management experiences and projects with superior, replicable results, recognized six initiatives: 1) Project ROMA; 2) Prospects for innovation management; 3) The marketer as a profitable, sustainable entrepreneur over time; 4) Integral management of fixed assets; 5) La Tuerca Johnny’s Skate Tournament; and 6) Sessions of prospective innovation.
In 2014, seven challenges were launched that generated 126 projects, including: 1) Design of an instrument or cooking equipment that facilitates the correct preparation of roasted, ground coffee simply and economically; 2) Definition of a strategy to eliminate unsafe behaviors; and 3) Improvement in the culture to identify and communicate risk for Grupo Nutresa. Innovative Solutions seeks to leverage the extended capabilities in innovation to find effective solutions and achieve better results in specific situations. To this end, it invites and encourages employees in the different businesses to present solution projects.
Innovative Success Stories:
Program to participate in the formulation and implementation of ideas achieved 2.743 Success Stories; that is, about 0,17 ideas per employee.
Out of the box:
In 2014, the winning teams of the radical innovation projects began to implement their business plans and received the first disbursements from the fund established for this purpose. Due to the nature of the projects, the information related to the development of these projects will be kept confidential.
Grupo Nutresa has 283 innovation promoters who have been trained in innovation techniques, such as Design Thinking, magazine cover, DTV and SCAMPER, among others.
There have been three prospective exercises for the Chocolate, Ice Cream and Cold Cut Businesses.
An Innovation Culture for Sustainability::
During the 2014 Annual Sustainability Event, the Sustainable Nutresa Award was launched in recognition of the Innovative Success Stories that have had a positive impact in economic, environmental or social dimensions, and that have the potential to be replicated in other Grupo Nutresa businesses. Ten innovations were recognized to offer healthier products to consumers, use natural resources more efficiently, create better labor and work environments, and work hand in hand with communities of influence to generate shared value.
In addition, the Grupo Nutresa Exemplary Supplier program was launched to recognize the most outstanding suppliers according to criteria of logistics service, productivity, sustainability and innovation and closing gaps in the value chain.
Grupo Nutresa’s future vision contemplates the evolution of consumer behavior and legislation in the countries in which it operates, in order to maintain leadership in the region and be prepared to face the challenges of the market.
Therefore, in 2014 Grupo Nutresa created a new innovation strategy that will be implemented in 2015, under which it will innovate new segments, new categories, new geographies and new client–attention models, all focused on social and environmental sustainability. To implement it, intra– and extra–entrepreneurship will be incorporated as catalysts for innovation management.
To manage the portfolio of products in the short, medium and long term, we will strengthen the mechanisms to identify high–potential ideas that deeply understand clients, shoppers and consumers, and we will generate convenient solutions for consumers with new lifestyles, who demand products that are easy to prepare, indulgent and healthy. The innovation–management system will be aimed at satisfying clients and consumers, with value propositions that supply their aspirations and needs.
In addition to innovation in new segments and the management of the portfolio of products, innovation will be aimed toward technological alternatives to reduce dependence on raw materials with high–fluctuation prices in the market and that impact the profitability of the businesses.
Redefining the innovation strategy and governance:
In 2014, we developed a project to redefine the strategy and establish the governance model for innovation in Grupo Nutresa, in order to make it an enabler to achieve the 2020 goals. As a result, we defined the innovation objectives, the skills to be developed, the competitive areas, and new ways to innovate.
The exercise was conducted with the participation of Grupo Nutresa’s senior management and the different business units.
The strategy, which will be implemented in 2015, will be based on developing a robust capacity for innovation and on impacting the Grupo Nutresa strategic objectives.
Strengthening capacities for innovation management:
Grupo Nutresa achieved a significant evolution in innovation strategies, technological management, networking, and R&D metrics and indicators and structures, thanks to the development of the project in which representatives from the businesses participated and who were accompanied by two expert organizations in innovation, one national and the other, international. In 2014, we incorporated new innovation tools, such as prospective and technological surveillance, and we strengthened aspects related to the development of solutions and research.
Implementation of the Technological Surveillance model:
With a focus on innovation, we created a Grupo Nutresa Directorate for Technological Surveillance, from which guidelines and directives are constructed and which facilitates the conceptual, practical and methodological tools for application in all the businesses. In order to assure the governance, appropriation, massification and sustainability of the process, 38 employees of the different companies were trained, including the definition of specific Watchers (Vigías) and Local Brains (Cerebros Locales). Thus, the process offers a systematic, structured service to observe and monitor the Grupo Nutresa technological environment, allowing it to identify, interpret and analyze signals, trends and scenarios, useful in the present or future strategy.
Since its creation, the technological surveillance process has generated more than 50 deliverables of a different nature that have been socialized with the different work teams in the businesses through the technological tools available to Grupo Nutresa.
Recognition in DJSI:
The progress and consolidation of innovation within Grupo Nutresa is mainly evidenced in the results of each of the pillars of its model. Obtaining recognition in DJSI is the confirmation of the appropriate management of incorporating innovation within the entire Organization. In 2014, Grupo Nutresa, for the fourth year, was recognized as one of the nine leading companies in corporate sustainability in the sector of food producers and was included in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index (DJSI), obtaining the best score of the sector in the chapter on innovation.
Inauguration of the Ruta N Laboratory:
Vidarium currently has a laboratory that has the optimal conditions of space and provision of equipment to develop activities related to its research projects. To complement its capabilities, Grupo Nutresa signed a special cooperation agreement with Corporación Ruta N Medellín to locate Vidarium within the Medellinnovation District. This 225 m2–space is located on the third floor of Torre B in the premises of the Ruta Complex (Complejo Ruta), and will allow Vidarium to conduct experimental activities related to the preparation, conditioning, analysis and conservation of in vivo, in vitro and ex vitro biological samples, through a general test area and an area for biological tests.
Strengthening Intellectual Property (IP):
The management of intellectual property in Grupo Nutresa is a strategic process that supports innovation, since it permits protecting and preserving the knowledge generated, identifying key technological trends in the planning and prospective exercises and reducing the risk of infringement of third–party holders, since its surveillance allows us to establish the frontiers of competitor knowledge. Intellectual property allows maintaining competitive advantages; it is increasingly relevant within the Imagix innovation model. In 2014, the foundations were laid to effectively administer this process.
Definition of the Grupo Nutresa nutritional profile:
In order to provide a more effective response to the lifestyles of consumers, innovation management has led Grupo Nutresa to evolve the nutritional aspects of its products. Thus, by 2020, we will double the portfolio adjusted to the energy criteria and nutrients of interest for the occasion of product consumption. For this, we originated an initiative to adjust the profiles in the portfolios, with the participation of all the businesses, to achieve the goal established. In 2014, 290 references were adjusted to the nutritional profile defined by Grupo Nutresa.
This adjustment began in 2012 and is focused on the most relevant aspects for consumers, such as reduced sodium, saturated fats, trans fats, sugar and the use of natural dyes. This result has been possible from the application of innovation processes, among which are: 1) The development of new products; 2) Technological Surveillance, which identifies new technologies; 3) Applied research, conducted with various universities and suppliers; and 4) Open innovation.
For Grupo Nutresa, innovation is a priority, and we have also advanced in the commitment of keeping consumers better informed about the nutritional content of its products through the implementation of the Guideline Daily Amount (GDA) capsules on the packaging of 2.905 of its products.