Developing ideas the unconventional way at BENEO
„No flipchart, no PowerPoint slides, no check-in questions, no air-conditioned meeting room, I just want you in your most authentic way to share your thoughts, ideas and inspiration with us“. Something along these lines was the welcoming speech for the Palatinose™ Blue Hour of Klaudia Volmer, Product Manager Functional Carbohydrates, when myself with eight other BENEO colleagues arrived early October of 2022 in Herxheim, a little village in the Palatinate region.
We were all part of the so-called „Palatinose™ Blue Hour“ which was brought to life by our colleagues of the Functional Carbs Team Klaudia, Koralie and Konstantin. In a nutshell, this format intended to be an inspiration session about BENEO’s smart carbohydrate Palatinose™ to find out if there is unleashed potential.
The invitees came from different BENEO departments and fields of expertise to ensure a wide range of diverse perspectives. But first and foremost it wasn’t about being there in one’s expert shoes but rather as a Palatinose™ fan as was stated in the first invite to this event some weeks before.
Curious what this event was about? I take you with me to that wonderful autumn day…
The event starts in a nice backyard of our hostel with a glass of Prosecco. On a clothesline, the development from Palatinose™ from its product launch in 2005 until today is documented, including important milestones like the first brand ambassadors and EU Health Claims for example – great stuff to dive into the topic which is our focus for the next 24 hours.
We learn that we’ll be on a tour through the vineyards in two groups. Along the way we’ll pass some stations where we have to solve quizzes and learn more about the alternative sugar. Both teams start with a bunch of snacks, drinks, a mailbox and a pack of postcards and pens, all of which are arranged on a handcart. And so, the journey begins. Our only guideline is a map in which our route is marked; some „X“ symbols show where we can expect the quiz stations.
Palatinose™ Blue Hour: The journey begins
The tour is a lot of fun – infotainment at its best. At every station we gain interesting background information about the functional carbohydrate. Luckily, the orga team prepared the content in a very tangible way. When learning more about the increase in sales volumes over the years, for example, the facts don’t come as plain figures but are nicely visualized with three bottles that have different fill levels.
When walking from station to station we talk a lot about Palatinose™ and every thought we feel is worth to be recorded, we note on a postcard and put it in the mailbox. Some hours and many many postcards later we are back at our hostel. It’s nice that we don’t have a strict schedule; so we have some time to digest all the information with a cup of coffee and also to exchange with the colleagues from the other group. All of our postcards get their space on additional clotheslines so that they are available for everyone – the one or the other idea is still added now.
While sitting together around a little bonfire after our lunch in a typical Palatinate’s restaurant (the plant-based trend we talk a lot about at BENEO has not quite arrived here yet) we have very lively conversations and discussions about Palatinose™ and all of our impressions from that exceptional day. It`s getting late that evening…
The day after
Focus of the second day is to dive deeper into some ideas that were gathered the previous day. We focus on some selected postcards which provide the greatest potential to make use of the group’s power. The primary goal is to make some progress and to develop rough ideas into a more concrete roadmap. In doing so, we work group-wise on different tasks. Big posters wait to be filled.
Unfortunately, all good things come to an end and after a few hours of concentrated effort, we have to say goodbye at noon.
I feel really honored about being part of this very exceptional format of the Palatinose™ Blue Hour. A huge THANK YOU to the Functional Carbs Team, you were amazing hosts. From my point of view, you managed to create an atmosphere where everybody felt comfortable and had the feeling that there is no stupid thought but rather that every contribution is valuable. Having joined the BENEO family during the COVID-19 pandemic, to me personally that was a very welcome event to meet colleagues in real life. Really valuable to me was also being in contact with colleagues with whom I have no touch points in my regular day-to-day work and to learn what they are dealing with in their role. It is definitely impressive how versatile the different fields of expertise are within the BENEO universe. Dear Functional Carbs Team, I hope the effort was worth it and that you can make use of some of our ideas. Here’s to Palatinose™ – may your success be as sustained as your energy release and as steady as your blood glucose profile response…