Arla Foods

Lean Innovation increased the effectiveness and impact of innovation projects

Lean innovation increased the effectiveness and impact of innovation projects. The project has provided Arla Foods with the means to create and develop better solutions and faster identification of the real project requirements.

Arla Foods had an ambition of creating a common innovation language with focus on visual and team-oriented processes, which would make them capable of executing innovation projects more effectively with a higher impact and at the same time make it more inspiring to work with innovation projects.

Arla Foods was looking to support the realisation of their growth ambition:

  • Double net turnover from products launched during the last three years
  • More than double sales contribution from products launched during the last three years
  • R&D yield (productivity) to improve by 20-80%
  • New stretch target cost saving from innovation to increase by 100%

Implement Consulting Group assisted Arla Foods in capturing the best practice and improvement areas of the existing innovation process and methodology.

Why did Arla Foods start this initiative?

  • To increase the effectiveness and impact of their innovation projects
  • To create a common innovation language
  • To increase the enthusiasm and motivation for making innovation happen

Based on current Arla best practice and Implement experience, a fast co-creation of an innovation tool book prototype was conducted. This was to be used as a foundation for implementing and strengthening innovation work methods in the business unit.

Through training and hands-on coaching of four innovation pilot projects, a set of best practices and improvement tools were formulated. Furthermore, Implement conducted training of approximately 100 managers, project managers and project participants in Lean Innovation and usage of the tools on real projects.

New learning loop for front-end innovation

The result of the workshops and training sessions was a new learning loop for doing front-end innovation in crossfunctional teams – the 5D innovation loop:

  1. Define
  2. Discover
  3. Direct
  4. Develop
  5. Detail

These innovation steps were supported by a broad launch of the Lean Innovation tool book containing practical team tools for each step in the loop. The tool book was combined with a short internal promotional video showing Arla Foods’ key innovation principles and examples of real projects using the Lean tools.


As a result of the project, other business units in Arla Foods decided to implement the same way of working. Both internal and external relationships and processes have become closer and better, thus resulting in improved work processes. Another result was an improvement of general enthusiasm and motivation for making innovation happen.

Above all, the project has provided Arla Foods with the means to create and develop better solutions and faster identification of the real requirements of their projects. 

For innovators focus and motivation is more important than time and money. Watch the video and learn more on the hidden truth about innovation

Henrik Sonnenberg
Henrik Sonnenberg
+45 2338 0031

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