There’s no way to innovate if you only stay in your court
Xavi Cortadellas is the Head of Innovation and Design at Gatorade. He focuses on breakthrough innovation, rather than incremental innovation. Gatorade invented sports drinks 50 years ago and now has an 80% market share. With little room to expand, they actively look for new spaces to grow. When entering a new market, Gatorade is careful to examine what’s the right thing to do and always have patience and perseverance.
Today, Gatorade is in the third wave of their innovation strategy and is now looking towards services. Xavi believes Gatorade may be able to provide sports nutrition information through tech and that they will move from delivering products to providing monetized services.
As the quarterback of a small innovation team, Xavi is able to corral different groups that touch innovation, such as R&D. He also works with external design agencies, external tech agencies, and sports marketing teams, which connect him with professional sports teams.
Prioritizing new ideas at Gatorade comes down to a few things. First is money. What is the size of the prize? Second is an equity play. Is it a good niche investment for Gatorade and does it create a story that helps them tap into new spaces? Third is complexity. Do they have the right capabilities to accomplish this idea? Cross-functional teams help vet this question and typically have a reasonable consensus on prioritizing and killing ideas.