Defining Innovation in Tobacco

Defining Innovation in Tobacco

Think there’s a one-size-fits-all definition of innovation? Think again. Here are five ways you and your company can be innovative while working in a business centered around tobacco.

  1. Improve on What’s Been Done Before
    It may seem like everything that can be done has been done–and perhaps that’s true. That doesn’t mean, however, you can’t take something that’s been done and improve upon it in some way. “Innovation can take a couple of forms. It can mean taking an existing product and improving upon it and competing in the same market, or it can mean seeing a void where something doesn’t exist and creating a product and its subsequent market,” says Steve Gherebean of Render Social, part of the team that recently produced the documentary Hand Rolled: A Film About Cigars to educate the public on what makes the cigar industry stand out from other tobacco categories like cigarettes.
  2. Do Things Your Own Way
    “Innovation doesn’t always have to be a specific product. Innovation is anything! It’s the way that you think about branding. It’s how you use social media, how you speak to consumers, how you speak to retailers. Innovation is about breaking down the norm,” explains Michael Giannini, general manager of Ventura Cigar Company. The lesson–think outside the box. Doing so will put you on a new path and lead to innovative discoveries.
  3. No Limits
    You can’t be innovative if you think there are limits to what you’re doing, creating and trying to achieve. Robert Caldwell of Caldwell Cigar Co. describes innovation in the following way: “Creation is from zero to one. Innovation is from one to infinity. It is the refinement or redirection of a proven approach.”
  4. Add Value
    Having a hard time coming up with something new and fresh? One approach to innovation is not necessarily thinking of something new and groundbreaking but instead coming up with a way to add value to something that’s already in existence. “It’s about being able to flip something on its head and try to add value to it, no matter where it is within the organization or whether it be a product or process,” says Scandinavian Tobacco Group Lane Limited’s Leonard Wortzel.
  5. Create Your Own Opportunities
    “Innovation involves moving the boundaries of what already exists—or creating a new playing field altogether,” explains Matt Booth of Room101. The key to foundation is opportunity. Whether it’s a product that’s going to shake up the industry or creating a new business venture, innovation always goes hand-in-hand with opportunity.

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