Magazine article New Zealand Management

Integral Innovation

Magazine article New Zealand Management

Integral Innovation

Article excerpt

The key to success is to drive innovation as an integral part of a business--not to sideline it off into its own team or department. So says Ross Brown, chief executive of Australia's Brown Brothers wine company.

In New Zealand last month to launch sparkling pink Zibibbo Rosa, the vineyard's newest offering and a nod to the statistics which show sparkling wine is the fastest growing category here and across the ditch, Brown is passionate about the need for innovation saying "it's integral to the success of the business".

"Being innovative is not an annual event and is of little value until it becomes an enduring company culture."

Wine tastes go in cycles, with varieties coming in and out of favour every 10 years. How then do you keep a vineyard productive when it takes four to five years to bring new vines into production, meaning you have to work at least five years ahead of changing tastes?

Brown Brothers' solution has been to introduce research and development --aka the driver of innovation--across all aspects of its production. One example is the vineyard 'kindergarten' it runs, where different grape varieties are tried and experimented with and new ideas are fast-tracked. …

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