Diageo Introduces a New Innovation Team to Drive Innovation Beyond New Products
Diageo, known for brands like Johnnie Walker, Don Julio, and Guinness, has introduced a ‘Breakthrough Innovation’ team as part of its Innovation function. This team aims to go beyond creating new products and focus on shaping innovation across Diageo.
Aligned with Diageo’s commitment to redefining social experiences, the Breakthrough team encourages innovators to think differently. While Diageo’s core innovation focuses on new products, Breakthrough will concentrate on creating platforms and innovative business models for the future.
The team will add value in three ways:
- Explore new platforms, technologies, and experiences, building on previous successes like the AI-powered ‘What’s Your Whisky.’
- Contribute to the evolution of Diageo’s existing brand portfolio, providing more reasons for consumers to love them. An example is ‘Elli,’ Seedlip’s virtual AI concierge launched last year.
- Support Diageo’s progress toward its ‘Society 2030: Spirit of Progress’ goals, an ESG action plan with a focus on innovation, such as the introduction of drones for efficiency at agave farms.
The team actively seeks collaboration with partners to test breakthrough ideas, as seen in the recently launched ‘Fusion by Diageo’ Accelerator program.
Heading the team is Guy Middleton, the Global Breakthrough Innovation Director. Middleton emphasizes the team’s goal to envision a desirable future for Diageo, consumers, and society. He explains that while venturing into breakthrough territory may be uncomfortable, the team’s ambition is to test, learn, and minimize risks in order to integrate breakthrough innovations effectively into the core business.
Middleton concludes by highlighting Diageo’s legacy of innovation with figures like Arthur Guinness and Johnnie Walker, expressing that the Breakthrough team ensures Diageo’s brands continue to lead in social celebration.