Will Silverwood asks – as consumer voices become louder, and reviews more powerful, is it time we started Innovating Innovation?

‘…the best a man can get’

It’s a bold claim and one that I have sleep walked into believing for many years. Only recently as part of a half-hearted attempt to save money, I bought a pack of budget, home brand razors from my local supermarket. Priced 40% less, the budget version did a better job and stayed sharp longer*.

*in my humble opinion

When global brands have a focus on loud brand marketing combined with driving a huge retail distribution footprint does innovation takes a back seat. Does innovation struggle to get new product on the shelves? Is it stifled because it’s too slow, too costly and too risky (according to Nielsen, 3 out of 4 FMCG new product launches fail within a year). Does having the best products out there become less important when market share is huge?

As consumer voices become louder, reviews more powerful, innovation has to continue at pace.

Black Swan

I have recently joined a business called Black Swan, a predictive analytics and AI business, which amongst other things is helping global FMCG brands to evolve their approach to innovation in order to inform accelerated strategic decisions around product development. It uses immense data sets to expand the reach beyond that of traditional focus groups. It can synthesise data from millions of people to increase objectivity and reduce the bias that researcher’s questions can bring. Data science and clever algorithms identify themes and nuances from global social platforms that might not historically have been picked up and then use virtual audiences to test the concepts.

Dark Analytics

‘Dark analytics’ as described by a recent Deloitte tech trends report is one to watch for the future of innovation and while it won’t necessarily replace existing research techniques, it can work with it to accelerate the process and take away some of the risk.


Will recently posted this blog  on his Linked In profile, which can be found here.


Will Silverwood is a Client Partner at Black Swan, helping client to derive maximum value from our products and services. With a few decades of experience combining data, technology and commercial sense to build stronger customer experiences across B2B and consumer businesses.