Nestlé Design & Innovation Programme

Delivering better innovation through design integration

Nestlé faced an interesting challenge: how to embed techniques derived from design thinking methods into its wider innovation programme, a programme that encompasses multiple brands, business units, and regions. PDD worked with Nestlé design and innovation team members to understand their current innovation process, in order to deliver a human-centred design programme that would work within their organisation’s culture, while building new skills and ways of thinking.

A key objective of the programme was to ensure that people-especially consumers-were at the centre of the innovation efforts. We helped members of the innovation, brand, and marketing teams see the marketplace and competitive landscape from a consumer’s perspective. The team members learned how to build empathy for consumers by immersing themselves in the lives of real people through ethnographic research. They also learned how to analyse the research to uncover insights that would inspire innovative ideas.

Another key objective was to enable the Nestlé team to learn different methods by applying them to real innovation challenges. Consequently, we crafted the programme as a live, twelve-week exercise focused on a specific design challenge in which team members practiced methods for: framing problems, conducting and analysing research to identify opportunities, generating concepts based on the opportunity areas, generating and communicating concept ideas, prototyping and refining concepts based on consumer feedback, and prioritising and selecting products to populate the innovation pipeline.

The programme has now been established as an easily repeatable process to be rolled out across other brands and regions, integrating design thinking techniques into the Nestlé innovation process.

"Through their deep design expertise and experience, PDD has been instrumental in our efforts towards embedding Design thinking into our Innovation process. Partnering with our internal Design Network, PDD led several pilots to experiment and implement in real life the fundamental principles of Design thinking, reinforcing our design process with problem framing, consumer observation, and prototyping. This served as case studies for a global roll-out, impacting our company at a Global scale."

Christian Saclier, Global Head of Industrial Design, Nestlé