Takeaways from iSEE’s ideation session at CSP’s 2018 Cold Vault Forum

Last month, the team at iSEE had the pleasure of participating in the 2018 CSP Cold Vault Forum in Chicago. The multi-day event brought together convenience retailers and top beverage companies to address the challenges and opportunities in the beverage category.

As part of the event, iSEE partner William Donius led an ideation session using the process outlined in his New York Times best-selling book Thought Revolution. Attendees were broken into groups and asked to consider solutions for problems facing the beverage category, such as space limitations within the cold vault and how retailers and beverage companies could better work together.

“Participants enjoyed the opportunity not to be ‘lectured at’ for another session but instead learn a new way to think, then have the opportunity to immediately apply it to the pre-determined obstacles and opportunities the industry faces,” Donius said.  “Attendees rarely depart conferences with ideas they can immediately put into action. Yet, the ideation I facilitate is designed to accomplish this feat.”

Each breakout group came up with their top three ideas, then the entire room voted on ideas that would have the most impact. Donius described the solutions as “a blend of conventional and more creative ideas.”

More conventional ideas included expanded foodservice-beverage offerings with sampling stations, improving communication between store staff and suppliers, eliminating space contracts and better merchandising tools.

Technology and innovation played a big role in some of the more creative ideas, which included:

  • Using technology for transactions so employees could focus on customer service
  • Ordering in-store items from the pump and picking up at vending windows
  • Using robots for delivery, inventory and restocks
  • Having instant chillers to get room-temperature beverages cold
  • Creating an out-of-stock indicator tool

“I’ve found in the past 10 years of facilitating ideation sessions that BIG, breakthrough ideas, validated by stakeholders, are likely to be implemented,” Donius said. “Fingers crossed that the session will have a positive impact on the industry.”