Unlocking Innovation in the Food and Drink Industry: A Testimonial from the Bord Bia Talent Academy MSc Insights & Innovation with DCU

12 Apr 2024, 14:06

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As the global landscape of business evolves, innovation stands as the cornerstone of progress, particularly in industries as dynamic as food, drink and horticulture. Clair Byrne, a participant in the Bord Bia Talent Academy MSc Insights & Innovation with DCU, shares her transformative journey with food and drink innovation, particularly during her placement with Irish Distillers. Clair’s experience underscores the programme’s efficacy and sheds light on the pivotal role innovation plays in shaping the future of these essential industries.

Clair's immersion into the programme unveiled a multifaceted approach to innovation, amalgamating academic tasks with real-world application. She tells us of the practical innovation modules, where she honed skills like design-thinking and market research, witnessing firsthand the work of innovative projects from conception to fruition. "In the programme, we really got to practice skills like design thinking and market research and see how these innovation projects came to life.", said Clair on the course.

However, it was her placement with Irish Distillers that provided an unparalleled experiential learning opportunity. Being embedded within the Prestige and Speciality team offered her a panoramic view of brand innovation, enriching her understanding of the steps involved in crafting innovative strategies within an expert domain. She describes her placement experience as "an immersive experience and an experience-full year," highlighting the depth of her engagement within the company: “from talking with the production and liquid development team, seeing what liquid was available, we've been able to craft a proposition around what we could do for the brands with limited edition releases and be working really closely with the stage gate process and bringing this through from the ideation briefing agencies, working with the design and packaging team to basically been brewing for like whiskey to launch in key markets”.

During her time at Irish Distillers, Clair spearheaded multiple innovation concepts, navigating through the intricate stages of ideation, development, and execution. Collaborating closely with cross-functional teams, from production to marketing, she orchestrated the launch of limited-edition releases, leveraging her newfound expertise in market research and consumer insights. Her success in leading two out of four innovations stands as a testament to the programme's efficiency in cultivating impactful innovation leaders.

Reflecting on her journey, Clair speaks about a holistic upskilling experience: “I really feel like I've improved in market research and consumer insight generation to apply this into Irish distillers and their global marketing team. I'd also feel that I'm personally more confident in my ability to deliver projects and my project management skills from ideation through to execution and actually launching from within the company and is really just reassured me of the application of these skills in the program”. From ideation briefings to product launches, she seamlessly navigated the innovation spectrum, showcasing her ability to deliver tangible results within a competitive industry landscape.

For prospective applicants, Clair offers advice gathered from her own journey. She emphasises the importance of research, to delve into Bord Bia's insightful reports to gain a comprehensive understanding of industry trends and consumer behaviours. Additionally, she discusses the significance of authenticity and passion during the application process, highlighting that a genuine enthusiasm for the industry can often be the differentiating factor.

“[If prospective applicants] were not from a food and beverage background, that is also such a good experience to have the opportunity to immerse themselves would into the sector. It's a great way in and I learned so much about it within the programme as it is an exciting time to be among the world's most essential industries.”

As industries continue to evolve, the need for innovation becomes ever more pronounced, and it is through opportunities like Bord Bia Talent Academy MSc Insights and Innovation programme that the next generation of visionary leaders is nurtured and poised to propel essential industries into a future defined by creativity, resilience, and progress.

The MSc Insights and Innovation is ideal for anyone aspiring to be an effective innovator in the food, drink and horticulture industry. To learn more and to apply for the programme, click here .

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This describes editorially independent and impartial content, which has been written and edited by the gradireland content team. Any external contributors featuring in the article are in line with our non-advertorial policy, by which we mean that we do not promote one organisation over another.

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