Involvement of store personnel in the innovation process
Abstract: For companies to remain competitive, a continuous supply of new value to the market is required. According to many, the success and survival of a company depend on its ability to innovate. Studies show, however, that as much as 80-90% of product launches in the grocery retail industry fail. Companies that have opened up their innovation process and involve various stakeholders report various benefits, such as an increased degree of innovation and increased success for new products. The literature sheds light on several traditional and digital methods for collecting information on needs and solutions, where internal crowdsourcing and the use of lead users stand out. This work was carried out in collaboration with ICA, Sweden's largest player in the grocery retail, and its innovation department. The study aimed to identify challenges with the current methodology for how store owners (handlare) and store employees are involved in the innovation process and to identify alternative approaches. Also to investigate the potential of involving them further and explore the need for a developed way of working. The study's empirical data collection included interviews, workshops, questionnaires, and tests of a potential solution. The result highlighted three challenges that ICA innovation has in its daily work. These were (1) lack of methodology and communication with the store (2) coverage for new products and (3) impact on the degree of innovation. The results also showed great interest from both the innovation department and the stores for a closer cooperation in product-related issues. Testing of the potential solution also indicated great potential for further development.
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