David Hamilton studied and became a chef before learning more about product development in the food industry. After working as a head chef, he began to learn more about product development. David has worked for over 20 years at Kerry Foods. He is currently the Director of Innovation.
Three questions with David Hamilton:
1. Do you have specific rituals for re-setting your team to be creative?
Travel is number one. If people are getting stale, we need to get them out of the office. We're popping out to Dubai and we come to realize that the packaging is so important, sometimes more so than the food itself. With that said, getting away from the desk is critical. We also set up meetings with people that have nothing to do with what we do, and bounce questions and ideas off of them. It challenges us to think differently. There's nothing better than getting people together, because it helps to reset themselves. We drive a challenging and instinctive team.
2. Have you identified any gaps in your innovation process that you're looking to improve on?
We need to make firmer and harder decisions. We work right across all the major supermarkets in the UK. We are developing and launching hundreds of products a year. We also need to bring some alignment because the market has changed. From a brand perspective, we need to make clearer decisions on fewer routes to market, and we need to balance across the brands. I think we also need to continue being entrepreneurial and work by instinct. The entire company has a role to play.
3. Looking to the future, how is Kerry Foods going to be a leader in innovation?
We've got to have a philosophy. Our customers and consumers stay warm about what they buy so we have to listen to them. We're not just talking about a product, but why a consumer likes to buy it. The latter piece is critical.