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September 5, 2017

Food for Thought with General Mills Canada

General Mills Canada asked us to work with them to create new product ideas across six different brand categories. The categories included cereals for children and adults, portable snacks for children, Old El Paso, and Green Giant with a focus on both children and adults.

Twenty-four people from varying disciplines of the company, including guests from their US head office, attended the sessions.

The sessions were held in the cooking school space above a state of the art Loblaw’s store close to the General Mills offices. This location provided an ideal environment for creative ‘foodie’ thinking while allowing all guests the opportunity to observe firsthand the highly competitive nature of the retail environment down below in the store.

BigStorming® exercises included free-hand drawing, photo association, story writing, pass the buck, scavenger hunts and word association.

The sessions were held twice daily with different guests attending each session. Guests were divided into teams of five based on an engaging creativity processing exercise which kicked off each session.

Lunch featured a celebrity chef who demonstrated excellent new-age recipes that the teams then enjoyed for lunch.

How creative brainstorming helped General Mills Canada

After three days of fun, team building and creative thinking, General Mills came away with a minimum of 10 big ideas for each of the six brand categories. The strongest of all of the concepts were sent to Minneapolis, Minnesota to R&D for testing, and at least one in each category was launched.

Feedback on the sessions was outstanding. The guests ranked them as the best and most productive product development sessions executed in the last 10 years!

This was the first time in the history of the Canadian company that General Mills had ever taken this approach to product innovation. In the past, they relied exclusively on their R&D teams to come up with new product ideas.

This time, when they branched out and included a wide variety of stakeholders in the process, the quality and the quantity of ideas was spectacular.

Fresh faces and a completely different approach to idea generation was a truly powerful approach! They had never heard of divergent and convergent thinking prior to the sessions. When they experienced how well it worked, it became the go-to strategy going forward.

The best story that came out of our time together was one afternoon that proved to be truly entertaining! One of the teams returned from their scavenger hunt creative exercise with a box of ‘Bowel Buddies’.

The ideas the teams generated were incredible but not quite as amazing as the race to the bathroom after everyone in the group decided to sample the product!

Learn how Barefoot Brainstorming can help with corporate creativity training

Get in touch with Marilyn and the Barefoot Brainstorming team today to learn how a creative brainstorming session can help your business.