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Promoting Core Values

Michael Steve, Senior Manager, Ainsworth Pet Nutrition
Katie Pagnotta
December 9th, 2013
Michael Steve is the Senior Manager of Innovation & Insights at Ainsworth Pet Nutrition, handling custom research and new product development. Ainsworth Pet Nutrition was born from the dedication to companion animals. Founder George Ainsworth Lang built a legacy and the company continues to promote core values including investing in new product development.

3 Questions with Michael

Do you have specific rituals for re-setting your team to be creative?

If we are doing a dedicated innovation project, we will make sure we are away from the office. We want to be away from voice-mails, emails and so forth. We want to avoid the distractions and focus the mindset. However, innovation doesn't always happen when you plan for it, everyone across our company is always looking out for new ideas we can bring into our pipeline.

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

It starts with the sharing of ideas, and immersing ourselves in our categories. Ideas can come from everywhere. You have to have patience to explore and cultivate ideas to understand their potential. Finally you have to be willing to take risks while balancing the company’s financial goals.

Has there ever been an instance where another industry has influenced an innovation at your company?

People treat their pets as children, and we often look to trends in human food and snacks. Healthy trends and indulgent trends have strong influence in pet food and snacks. An example is our 'Rachael Ray Nutrish® Naturally Delish line of wet dog food. We wanted it to have and appealing appearance for the owners, as well as great flavor for their dogs.