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Pentland Brands: deploying a disruptive mindset

Pentland Brands’ chief operating officer, Chirag Patel, and head of ideas incubation, Emily Haynes, revealed how the company is testing new ways to develop products, services and brand propositions using an ideas incubator, at today’s Drapers Fashion Forum.

The group owns global brands including Speedo, Canterbury and Berghaus. This month, it introduced a programme called Disruption Lab, which brings together a cross-section of employees, who work in teams to resolve popular consumer frustrations by creating new brand propositions.

Deliberately bringing together a diverse range of skills and ideas, the programme is a valuable employee learning opportunity as well as a crucial driver of consumer-led innovation.

The process moves quickly from theory to real life, working on real problems that are affecting the market. The programme challenges Pentland to think through the mind of the consumer rather than the mind of the business, to ensure the approach is agile and adaptable to the constant changes presented by the retail industry.

Patel explained that Pentland Brands has deployed this disruptive mindset to stay relevant in an ever-evolving environment: “What has got us to where we are today isn’t necessarily what we can use to move us into the future.”

He added: “People can come from anywhere in the business [to be part of the Disruption Lab]. It doesn’t matter where they come from. They want to dissect it, they’re curious. This is about encouraging people to be more innovative in their ideas by changing the environment, focusing on one thing for three weeks at a time and getting people to ask questions and think in a different way. Those skills are what we should be looking for as we look to the future.

“We believe it is the right thing for our business, as it has forced us to ask questions about ourselves and our operating model. To succeed in the future you have to innovate and have programmes like this.”

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