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Bringing collaborative problem solving to emerging brands at NBJ SummitBringing collaborative problem solving to emerging brands at NBJ Summit

NBJ Summit’s Innovation Fix brings the wisdom of the collective to the table to address individual brands’ growing pains.

Bill Giebler

April 4, 2019

4 Min Read
Innovation Fix working group.JPG

Imagine building a board of top industry executives eager to help solve a specific challenge your young business faces—even for half a day. What would come of that groupthink? What actionable takeaways might you carry on to your return flight? That exercise is exactly what will happen for four emering brands at NBJ Summit’s second annual Innovation Fix in July. But it's not just those four brands that will benefit. The dozens of participants forming these temporary problem-solving boards each participate in innovation unfolding from fresh perspective, of the value of collaboration, of networking with other industry leaders. 

How it works

There’s no shortage of challenges in growing a business. Even so, we will ask emerging brands to present a single challenge statement. In the weeks preceding the summit, four of these brand owners will be paired with a mentor to coach them through the challenge. At the event, solutions to each challenge—as presented by these four brand representatives and mentors—will be brainstormed by self-selected, guided expert breakout groups.

This year, the session will be anchored in the theme of behavior change, with the stage being set by BJ Fogg, PhD. The Stanford University Behavior Design Lab founder’s research identifies three elements that must converge for a behavior to occur: motivation, ability and prompt. If any of these elements is missing, Fogg's research suggests, the targeted behavior will not manifest. Fogg will open the Innovation Fix session with a brief keynote.

A look back

Here’s what some of the entrepreneurs and mentors participating in the 2018 NBJ Summit Innovation Fix had to say in the weeks following the event.

"I enjoyed the format very much. I appreciated the supportive ideas everyone shared about ways to communicate all the science behind our product while simultaneously simplifying our message. Not only did I get thoughtful input on our plans, I learned substantive things about other new companies. Loved the relationships and connections that I left with too!" —Ashley Dombkowski, PhD of Before Brands

"The Fix model was a good reminder of the value in approaching an idea or challenge with a new set of eyes. It’s easy for teams or departments to become silos and focus only on their areas of expertise—as mentors, we might even recognize this phenomenon in our own organizations. Getting new perspectives often leads to innovative ideas and the best outcomes. With this approach, there is less filtering and more open-mindedness—good ideas are free flowing because there is no threat of 'this is how we’ve always done it.'" —Aaron Bartz, president of Ortho Molecular and mentor to Before Brands

"The participants were experienced professionals and were able to dive deep at a moment's notice. There was very little hand-holding or mulling over the problem statement. The majority of time was spent on the alternatives that hemp or CBD manufacturers can focus on right away. In addition, I connected with a few entrepreneurs and brainstormed the product development ideas, which was icing on the cake." —Raj Gupta of Folium Biosciences

"Overall, I found the Fix model very useful for the company. Although many of the solutions presented by the participates would be difficult to implement, there were several golden nuggets in the mix." —Ed Hauck of Nutrition Business Advisors and mentor to Folium Biosciences

"The experience was special because I was able to come together with other industry professionals and analyze some of the problems we face from a different perspective. It also reinforced the importance of some of the steps we are trying to take and the leadership role we would like to assume in the industry. Seeing Robert Craven in action and getting some time to work with him in a one-on-one setting was a great learning experience for me. We were also able to network with some like-minded growers we would like to collaborate with and feature in our formulas in the future." —Jonathan Larson of Oriya Organics

"The key takeaway for me from the fix model is that we’ve got a great industry with really high-integrity people. Even though the person I was mentoring could be considered a competitor in our space, it was a pleasure to help him tackle some issues that many of us have faced before. The more young entrepreneurs we have doing that, the better. I was really proud of the industry coming together to help them in a way that I know was extremely valuable." —Robert Craven then CEO of MegaFood and mentor to Oriya Organics

About the Author(s)

Bill Giebler

Content & Insights Director, Nutrition Business Journal

An award-winning writer and natural products industry veteran—with decades of experience in food and supplement retail, lifestyle mail order and organic textiles product development—Nutrition Business Journal Content & Insights Director Bill Giebler reports on dietary supplements and food and agricultural trends and opportunities across New Hope Network properties.

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