Director, Product Innovation
Continental Mills - Seattle, WA

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JOB TITLE: Director of Innovation - Marketing

REPORTS TO: Vice President Marketing

STATUS: Exempt

JOB PURPOSE : Builds and leads existing innovation department. Identifies and develops innovative platforms that build the strategic framework for creative new products. Leads white space identification, concept/proposition development, business strategy and cross-functional teams for new products. Strong cross-functional linkage with brand management, research & development, consumer insights and sales functions to leverage existing brand assets and promote new product ideas. May also manage growth brands past the initial development phases. Genuine passion for the value and contribution made through innovation and a desire to share that passion with others. An innovation ambassador to the organization .


Strategy/Positioning of New Products:
  • Inspire cross-functional team members with a vision and assume the Project Leadership role on product development initiatives
  • Builds strategy through thoughtful consumer insights, thorough competitive and market analyses and deep understanding of emerging trends
  • Aligns innovation with company’s strategic priorities, and leverages strategic opportunity areas across relevant markets
  • Defines the positioning for new brands in the pipeline and/or integrates new proposition with established brand positioning and brand evolution strategy
  • Defines point of differentiation vs. competition and develops strategies to insulate proposition vs. competition
  • Defines strategic platforms, identifies insight opening plan and builds a robust pool of insights and ideas.
  • Build an innovation pipeline against strategic platforms to deliver long term plan
  • Leads external and internal analysis and case studies of the business environment, competitors, customers, market trends, and the implications and recommendations for the business
  • Quickly analyzes data and information from a wide variety of sources to develop effective business building plans
  • Leads the analysis protocol – business case development, testing and associated hurdles and tracking mechanisms.
  • Oversees financial analysis, P&L development, capital feasibility and cash flow analysis
Planning/Stakeholder Alignment:
  • Leads cross functional team to develop new initiatives from discovery and ideation through commercialization using the stage gate process
  • Serves as project champion coordinating activities across functions to deliver project objectives
  • Plans appropriately through each stage of the innovation pipeline to ensure adequate depth/resources to meet business objectives
  • Leads transition of new products/new business projects to appropriate commercial team
Partnership Management:
  • Develop supplier relationships to close internal capability gaps required to meet identify new innovation opportunities
  • Builds relationships with key industry influencers and customers while anticipating future needs.
  • Develops and manages a marketing staff that supports Innovation.
  • Prepares and manages against an annual operating budget that supports corporate objectives.
  • Performs other duties as assigned.

Leadership & Management
  • Provides leadership to the organization through credible technical and ethical business practices.
  • Exhibits leadership characteristics consistent with Continental Mills vision and philosophies while integrating company culture.
  • Approvals, decisions and activities impact the overall design of systems, programs, operations, research and budget affecting critical aspects of the final products & service.
Coaching, Motivating and Mentoring
  • Selects, manages and develops team members.
  • Sets expectations, tracks results, and manages accountability.
  • Effective developer of people. A teacher, coach, mentor and role model.
  • Is confident to give people space to learn and make mistakes.
Technical Capability
  • Current knowledge of the Food Industry; suppliers, customers, and service providers.
  • Working knowledge of product development, process development, regulatory requirements and project management.
  • Influences and persuades executive level leadership. Communicates technical concepts and ideas to the organization.
  • Strong written, oral and facilitation skills.
  • Excellent listener. Empathetic to individual concerns and directs necessary follow-up actions.
  • Conveys information in understandable terms at all levels of the organization (internally and externally).
Personal and Social Competence
  • High integrity and honesty, promoting trust in all actions.
  • Responsive, with the ability to handle changing timelines and priorities.
  • Ability to work both independently and in a team environment.
  • Ability to travel as business needs require.

Education :
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing, Business Administration or similar fields required.
  • MBA in Marketing or related field strongly preferred.
Experience :
  • Minimum of 7 years relevant Marketing and/or innovation experience.
  • The ideal candidate will have progressed through the marketing ranks at a top-tier consumer packaged goods company (preferably in the food industry).
    • Proven success with innovation and commercialization processes. Track Record of new product successes in market.
    • Alternatively, experience with a major innovation consultant agency supporting multiple clients.
  • Passion for Food, “foodie”, is a plus.
The policy of Continental Mills, Inc. is to hire, train, and promote all persons in all job groups in accordance with law, without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, marital status, presence of sensory, mental or physical disability, Vietnam veteran, or national origin.

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