our work

Proving the value of innovation and rekindling a company-wide culture to support it

Kurt Bostelaar
August 11, 2023
 min read

Sara Stabelfeldt, the Director of Innovation at Schreiber Foods, reached out to Strategyzer for support in advancing their innovation capabilities. They were looking to push into business model innovation and find new ways to grow an innovation culture.

Companies that are prepared for disruption are constantly reinventing themselves. They don’t believe they are invincible. The main task of leadership today is to constantly reinvent your organisation.”

The challenge

How could Schreiber, a mature, established company, shift their innovation culture? How could they find new growth opportunities with business model innovation?

The solution

Strategyzer helped Schreiber develop their internal innovation systems and identify the most impactful areas to focus for shifting innovation culture. We supported them with training, coaching, and project sprints.

The impact

A meaningful shift in innovation culture that is helping to develop innovative growth projects. An internal innovation accelerator that is producing results.

Accelerating innovation at Schreiber Foods

Schreiber Foods is a global consumer packaged food company with over 10,000 employees and annual sales of $7 billion. Founded in 1945, the company has a long history of quality, integrity and growth. After a recent period of expanding into further global territories, they were looking to develop, grow and systemize their innovation process – and get everyone on board. When Sara joined as the Director of Innovation, she and the team had two main innovation objectives: to deliver financial results and ignite a cultural transformation.

Schreiber Foods is focused on innovating every phase of the food industry, from production to distribution.

Moving beyond product innovation

In the first few years of their innovation journey, the team made steady progress. They experimented with the best structures and processes and piloted different approaches to build out their internal innovation systems. Sara had extensive experience in product innovation – with her work used as a case study by Clayton Christensen – so they focused on getting quick wins in this area. However, they soon realized that they wanted a more balanced innovation portfolio. The first challenge was therefore figuring out how to move beyond the product innovation approach. They wanted to look at innovation not only through the lens of product, but also through the lens of business models and emerging technology. These areas represented growth for Schreiber, as they didn’t yet have the experience and skill-set to launch into the transformation.

How Strategyzer helped

To kick-start their journey into business model innovation, Schreiber came across Strategyzer’s master workshop, “Building invincible companies”. The training contained topics such as: ‘Tools to compete on superior business models, not just product or pricing’ and ‘How to design the right innovation culture and organizational structure’. Yves and Alex, the creators of the Business Model Canvas, led the training – and through the case studies they used in the interactive training, Sara saw the exact challenges her and the team had been wrestling with.

An example of a live Strategyzer training.

Schreiber ended up partnering with Strategyzer after the training. This involved coaching and support in improving their internal innovation systems. This benchmarking gave them a more transparent view of their innovation projects, and allowed them to track the progress of all projects at any time.

We were looking for those external experts who could help us go from the foundation that we set, into a space of accelerating for the future.”
Sara Stabelfeldt
Director of Innovation at Schreiber Foods

Fostering a culture that embraces new growth opportunities

Companies that innovate their business models often encounter internal cultural resistance.  Sara and the team faced this challenge in different ways at Schreiber. Getting the support from leaders and individual contributors was easy, but getting others at the middle management level on board proved to be much more difficult. When Sara and the team looked to find members to take part in innovation sprints, middle managers were faced with a challenging position.

When we decided to embark on the sprint and we had to resource it, we asked for people to step out of their day job and into this for 12 weeks. Senior leadership was aligned. They were excited and they understood. But that’s a huge ask for middle management because they're actually losing people for 12 weeks and those team members are not working on their team’s specific goals. It puts the middle managers in a very tough position.”
Sara Stabelfeldt
Director of Innovation at Schreiber Foods

Sara and the team took several actions to address this challenge and to begin to establish a culture of innovation. These included:

  • Creating an updated application process for team members to work on innovation projects
  • Cultivating internal career opportunities related to innovation
  • Leading immersion trips for leaders to see how other companies innovate. These showcased the impact innovation could have and the value it could provide.

Showcasing the tangible results of innovation

To further showcase the value of innovation, the team at Schreiber wanted to be able to point to tangible results from internal innovation projects. Schreiber therefore partnered with Strategyzer to run a Discovery program. The Discovery program consists of an innovation sprint where teams develop, test, and adapt new growth ideas.

Strategyzer coaches guided the four teams through the three phases of the program. First, they led the teams through workshops to design the value proposition and business model of their ideas. Then they supported the teams through eight weeks of real world testing with customers. Lastly, they helped the four teams create an evidence-based pitch presentation. At the pitch event, executive leaders learned how to evaluate the teams’ work. Strategyzer trained them in the innovation metrics the teams had been working towards during the program. They were able to evaluate whether teams had evidence that customers cared about and were willing to pay for their growth ideas.

A breakdown of the Strategyzer Discovery Program

Sara and the team have used the Discovery program to highlight the tangible results innovation can produce at Schreiber. They are now looking to accelerate one of the projects that has gained a lot of traction. This momentum has allowed them to bring three new employees into their innovation team. Moving forward, Strategyzer will assist by training these employees to be innovation coaches.

It helped our organization understand that ‘wow, we can accomplish really impressive things in a short 12 weeks when we put people against this specific goal’. We've been able to point to the results to show the business that it's worthwhile to add three incremental headcount that do this full-time.”
Sara Stabelfeldt
Director of Innovation at Schreiber Foods
Kurt Bostelaar
August 11, 2023
It was a tremendous amount of work and we are extremely thankful to the whole team at Strategyzer. We learnt so much: three years ago we didn't really know how to start, and now I think we have built robust program that generations after us can continue to run.”
Henning Till
Head of Corporate Innovation, Bayer
related reads

Discover how our approach unlocks innovation at scale and 

Read our blog
No items found.
Team member avatarTeam member avatarTeam member avatarTeam member avatarTeam member avatarTeam member avatarTeam member avatarTeam member avatarTeam member avatarTeam member avatarTeam member avatar
Let's talk
Whether you’re looking for more information or you’re ready to start a project, we’re ready to help.
Thanks for your interest in our solutions. We will be in touch with you soon.