Innovation is not born out of thin air. It has a story. And like most great stories, it starts once upon a time, as a seed planted in fertile soil. While innovation may begin from a single place, it spreads as it grows. Over time, many hands and minds will shape the innovation, which thrives on its surrounding environment.
“Innovation is a global topic,” said Loretta Zapp, CEO of Applied Food Sciences (AFS), whose company hosted its 6th annual innovation retreat in Boca Raton, Florida, last month. For the retreats, AFS brings together a small group of about 20 or so people with a mixture of different roles in the natural products industry, from legal/regulatory and marketing to science, executive management and media. The idea, Zapp explained, is that innovation requires input from a wide range of specialties, so gathering these various minds in one place can foster new ideas.
This year’s event was focused on innovations in sports nutrition, especially involving botanical ingredients. The retreat featured presentations, exercises and networking sessions. Presenters included Kris Gethin, founder of sports supplement brand Kaged Muscle; Steve French, managing partner of the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI); Rakesh Amin, partner with Amin Talati Upadhye; Thaddeus Napp, director of strategy, and Susan Touchette Aust, account director, with Vermilion Design + Digital; Jackson Zapp, VP of innovation for AFS; and, Chris Fields, VP of scientific affairs for AFS.