The past six months have been quite hectic on a global innovation role for Vaseline. Global innovation means that a launch can encompass North America, Europe and Asia. While it sounds exciting to work on a launch that will roll out in several countries across the globe, the practical challenges can be huge.
First, there are the meetings. 7 a.m. calls with Asia, 10 a.m. calls with Europe, 1 p.m. calls with North America. Hmm … when do I get to do the things that need to be done following all these calls? However, that is the minor stuff. What about the regional differences when trying to figure out the product mix? How will consumers perceive the innovation in each region? Will the same technology be rolled out across every region? How will differing margin pressures across different regions impact mix choices? Is it possible to have the same communication across regions? Really … quite challenging.
From a cultural perspective, working in innovation is quite different from working in activation. Where the latter is about taking informed decisions quickly, the former is about researching every aspect of the mix, testing and validating concepts and then taking the next step. Of course, this makes sense when one realizes that the innovation will cost a few million dollars to develop and roll out, and that it will touch several million consumers. Flawless execution is expected and an obsessive attention to detail is a must.
A most interesting experience. Time to head to bed -- have a 6:30 a.m. call tomorrow.