The innocent side of networking

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We were invited to attend a UKWON networking event, which was hosted this week at the Innocent Fruit Towers in North West London. The afternoon had three main focuses and each theme was divided into chunks and finely interwoven with each other to make for a very interesting experience.

1) Peter Totterdill shared his views about UKWON’s philosophy, captured under the title of “The Fifth Element”, about workplace practices such as participative work organisation and job design, opportunities for learning and improvement, flexible organisational structures and management/union/employee partnership all contribute to more productive organisations and better places to work.

2) A team of actors played out a story (in among all the delegates) to focus our thoughts on cultural issues within a typical organisation. The script explored human characteristics and behaviours and the impact these have on colleagues and on the business itself. We were encouraged to investigate simple changes in attitudes and roles, directed by the delegates and played out by the actors, to get a very clear demonstration of how these can influence and drive business success.

3) We were treated to a guided tour of Fruit Towers by Innocent employees and also received a couple of presentations from senior members of the Innocent team. Steve Spall, Group Operations Director (or GOD for short), shared an in-depth background on the Innocent brand strategy and how the business behaves. While Dan Germain, Group Head of Brand & Creative at Innocent, demonstrated how and why he has expressed the brand’s compelling ideas since the beginning of the company.

 

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All in all this was a very enjoyable and productive day.

We were particularly struck by how Innocent had made architectural changes to its building environment in order to facilitate the ease of cross functional conversations.  The deliberately conscious effort placed on maintaining the right culture within the business is given as much attention as the quality of their world famous smoothies.

The company has a clearly stated core purpose to; “make natural, delicious food and drink that helps people live well and die old”.

Before leaving the delegates were invited to share, in conversation, ideas that might inform the way Innocent should manage its changing culture as the brand matures in its journey and finds its own place within the world of its new parent, CocaCola. Opening up to us and inviting our input in this way was simply another demonstration of how the Innocent brand lives its core values.

Apparently anyone can drop by Fruit Towers for the tour.

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