Students & Graduates Blog

The graduates’ final innovation projects: digital boldness par excellence

On June 14th, all our graduates came together in our global HQ in Denmark to present their final innovation projects to an esteemed panel of top leaders, marking the official end of their graduate programme at Arla.

Published: June 21, 2017 by Marion Allmaier

As the final challenge of their graduate programmes, the 17 young talents were asked to imagine the future of dairy by creating an innovation concept for Arla. The graduates could choose any type of innovation across our value chain as long they demonstrated why their business idea is relevant to Arla’s Good Growth 2020 strategy and business model.

Disruptive innovations to create the future of dairy

Fourteen F15 graduates teamed up with three Production Management graduates and formed five project teams that worked intensely in the past ten weeks to shape visionary concepts and build realistic business cases around them. Last Wednesday, the final day had come: the graduates pitched their innovation projects to a prestigious panel consisting of six top leaders.

“That day marked the end of a two-year development journey characterized by a lot of hard work, but also fun. Being part of the F15 cohort, we know each other very well as peers; but it was actually the first time we worked together on a project in the professional context. It feels great to collaboratively explore how we would like to see the company going forward”, Mikkel Pedersen (F15) describes his impressions.

Arla’s digital journey in focus

Being bold in exploring innovative paths towards the digitalization of our business was the guiding thread throughout all projects presented that day, and only demonstrates the graduates’ deep business understanding and brave thinking:

  • Group 1: 3D printing of spare parts in dairy sites
  • Group 2: Arla Moods, an inspirational food app based on unique taste profiles
  • Group 3: Farm2Table, a consumer journey through value chain gamification and virtual reality
  • Group 4: Arla Urban Cows, mobile food trucks as a new channel to drive offline-to-online sales
  • Group 5: Smart packaging for our Baby&Me Organic IMF

While all groups demonstrated entrepreneurial spirit, business acumen and extra-ordinary can-do attitude, one group particularly convinced the panel with the ability to create an innovative concept, sense its great potential and lead the way towards a fast-track implementation by already presenting a prototype of their smart packaging concept. The winner group’s vision was to introduce smart packaging for our Baby&Me Organic IMF and hereby, using digital technology to futureproof Arla’s Good Growth and inspire the everyday Arla consumer. Congratulations to Charlotte Thomassen-Kinsey, Mikkel Pedersen and Mohammad Naved!

“The winning project was a real example of taking an idea and showcasing its functionality by prototyping it – taking it that step further into execution. It was that extra effort and bold behavior that gave them the winning price in the end”, Søren Bill (Business Development Director) elaborates.

Charlotte, Mikkel and Mohammad reflect upon winning the innovation project competition: “Of course, we are very excited about being selected as the winning team, but above all, we are grateful for everyone who supported and believed in our project.  We would  like to thank all the people who contributed with their valuable inputs in making our project successful - especial shout out to the IMF China team, our project mentor, IT, CSEO and Corporate Finance.”