Recipe for a brighter future of food: purpose, diversity & empowerment
I love my job because it gives tons of food for thought on the daily basis, besides getting me to travel quite a bit (now writing from the beautifully sunny Tel Aviv).
During this trip I’ve had the opportunity to ponder on some of the things I have seen (and heard) by working with hundreds of entrepreneurs, corporate executives and other young talented people in food.
Here is a triple-bottom line distillations of some of my conclusions:
- Millennials (as consumers) are the real ‘actors’ of the food revolution. They look for brands with a PURPOSE and, powered with their phones, can easily discern the good from the bad ones. I believe they will be the ‘growth engine’ of this industry for the next two decades and it seems to me they don’t only look for healthier food options but also tend to shop more ethically that my generation used to (Disclaimer: I guess I belong to Gen Y). When it comes to work, I have the feeling they’re looking to engage with companies with a clear purpose (often time to make the world a better place) and seems to be more inclined to take risks and build their own venture if they can’t find the right fit. (Side note: my main reason for leaving Diageo was actually lack of purpose of my work). As simplistic as this may sound, I’m of the opinion that if the big guys won’t be able to attract ‘millenials’ talents any longer unless they change the way they run their business. Indeed, it’s no secret that the success of every business lies in the people it employ. At the current pace of which the world is changing, the generation divide will become so big that their ability to attract talents will shrink to a point that will probably push them to go out of business. And if you look at the market data, this seems to be not that far from happening.
- DIVERSITY and empowerment increase the odds of creating (meaningful) innovation: most tech giants have figured this out a looong time ago (eg. forming engineering teams of people from all over the world) plus they empower their employees to have an impact on their business (eg. Google encourages their employees to propose and work new ideas — Gmail and Gmaps both came to life as a result of employees’ 20%-time side projects). I think this alone is a clear signal that creating multicultural and cross-functional teams and EMPOWERING them with the right tools (e.g a flexible working environment, personal development training) for succeeding in business actually works (cfr Here’s how Facebook, Google and LinkedIn retain their best employees).
I believe the Big Tech giants are setting the ‘new industry standards’ and it seems these new tools are not only working in their favour to attracting new talents but they also foster team spirit and a sense of community which ultimately increases their talent’s retention. These new ‘breed’ of companies seems to be the ones that youngsters these days want work at.
Now the question is: which type of organisation you would like to work for?