AIB International

A new two-stage approach to innovation and product development

AIB International has embarked on a new two-step approach to determine and develop new projects.

Susan Hancock, vice-president, innovation and product development for AIB International, Manhattan, Kas., described the first step as “the fuzzy front end of innovation.”

AIB International will set up formal relationships with trendsetters in the industry, influential organizations such as the Food and Drug Administration, thought leaders, and critical clients of AIB International. Through this AIB will glean the latest information, such as that on regulatory issues and technology, from the groups.

Maureen Olewnik, Ph.D., will lead this first step in her new role as principal, industry affairs. Dr. Olewnik has more than 34 years of experience with AIB International in various leadership roles, from working as a cereal chemist to leading the organization’s food safety operations.

“She has moved into a pioneering role for us to be solely dedicated to the front end of the innovation process,” Ms. Hancock said of Dr. Olewnik. “It’s an ideal role for her, and we’re lucky we have her.”

As insights are gathered, AIB International will identify valuable opportunities for its clients. The analysis will allow AIB International to make strategic decisions for future investment.

If AIB International decides a project is worthy of development, Sydni Neptune, senior director of product development, will take it from there. She has extensive project management experience with Fortune 500 companies, Ms. Hancock said.

“She’s coming on to ensure our projects are managed appropriately, that they are measured appropriately, and that we use state-of-the-art business practices,” Ms. Hancock said.

Ms. Hancock added AIB International is looking beyond the food industry for ideas. For example, the organization is exploring how vision technology might be applied to virtual training or inspection activities.