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Century-Old Innovations

Fernando Angel, Product Technology&Development, Mother Parkers Tea&Coffee
Dylan Morton
July 23rd, 2015
Since it was established in 1912, the century-old company Mother Parkers Tea & Coffee has been at the forefront of innovation for the coffee and tea industry. It prides itself on being one of North America’s top roasters and is showing no signs of slowing down. This family-run business has a wide variety of products that it offers. Fernando Angel, a manager of product technology and development has been with the company for over a year. Fernando was born and raised in Columbia and has worked in the coffee industry for many years. He has played many different roles in a variety of different research and development jobs.

3 Questions with Fernando:

1. What makes an innovative culture? How do you create a culture of innovation?

Everything to do with the innovations must be related to the company’s core values and strategic plan. Companies need to select the capabilities that match their particular innovation strategy. You can be a follower of innovations or you can be a front line developer, which can put you in a different situation because you have to look at a lot of different resources. To make the culture innovative, you have to go through the whole strategy and the core values of the company to make an honest assessment of its capabilities (talent knowledge, team structure and processes). Innovation is about being open to create and transform products and services. The internal environment and work culture will be the driving factor to foster an innovative culture.

2. What is the biggest challenge when you face when innovating?

Any company in today’s age faces the challenge of rapid changes in technology. Secondly, one main challenge is the side of HR and how to retain and attract the new talent necessary to move forward. We constantly are looking to create the right environment in order to support, manage and inspire these experts.

3. How do you find inspiration or ideas from adjacent industries? Or do you focus only on your category?

We like to look at different industries because in the coffee business, so many new things happen all the time. Coffee is seen as a commodity and innovation comes from the connection of all players within the supply chain. We are always asking ourselves what the consumers are looking for. It is more than just providing coffee; it is about fulfilling the expectations of the final users. It is important to have alliances with the suppliers so we can deliver as well. To me, when we look at so many different industries, we are also looking for different niches. We must always be open minded and cross through different segments of the market.