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The Innovation Strategy: Clear, Balanced, Agile

5 questions with Vanessa Balouzet-Uchansky, Head of Innovation Acceleration Team at Nestle

12Aug

Ahead of her presentation at the Chief Innovation Officer Summit in London this October 19&20th, we spoke to Vanessa Balouzet-Uchansky, Head of Innovation Acceleration Team at Nestle. 

Vanessa Balouzet-Uchanski is Head of Innovation Acceleration Team at the Nestlé Headquarters in Vevey. The Innovation Acceleration Team is a rich and diverse team focused on promoting and accelerating Innovation across Markets and Businesses within Nestle.

Vanessa graduated in Biology and Nutrition (INA-PG and University of California, Berkeley); and in Strategic Management and Finance (HEC).

Before moving to this position, Vanessa worked 10 years in strategy consulting at A.T. Kearney and The Boston Consulting Group, in Paris and Chicago. In her role, she advised Consumer Good Companies on their growth strategy, innovation pipeline, and profit improvement initiatives. She also has extensive international experience with engagement in Asia, Europe, the USA, and South America.

How did you get started in your career?

I started as a strategy consultant working for A.T. Kearney and Boston Consulting Group. I always had a passion for Food and for very tangible, concrete outcome. So I specialized in fast moving consumer goods and on growth.

What are the main components of a successful innovation strategy?

It needs to be aligned with the business strategy, focused (with clear target and explicit priorities), balanced (long-term and short-term, high-risk bets and low-risk bets, outside of the Business and solidifying our position), and in full alignment with ways to implement it (resources, launch dates)

Is open innovation worth the risk?

Yes, when it's well done. We need to commit on the means to make it work: opening to the outside for the right project at the right moment, learning how to adapt to the size of the partners, following up on commitments.

How important is it to collaborate with the startup community? What are your thoughts on internal and external incubator programs?

They are critical. In the current world, we will not afford to win alone. A startup can represent high creativity, fast paced and complementary skills to our big businesses.

What can delegates expect from your presentation at the Chief Innovation Officer Summit?

The innovation ways of working at Nestle. How we run and accelerate big innovation projects across multiple markets.

You can hear from Vanessa and other industry leaders at the Chief Innovation Officer Summit, taking place in London this October 19&20th.

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