Last week we celebrated the radical innovations of three of our 10 Robin Report Radicals finalists. We launched the program last year in collaboration with SAP to highlight the transformative impact innovators are having on their companies. This week we applaud the work of three more Radicals.
There is no shortage of awards for business disruptors among startups. These are typically investor-funded technology-driven companies, launched by next-gen innovators. But what about the innovators within the traditional “old world” heritage companies, established before the year 2000, who are implementing radical changes in their companies to successfully compete in the “new world?”
We created the Radicals Awards to focus on individuals who frankly have a much higher hurdle than the so-called tech-driven upstarts. They must fight to transform organizational, cultural and antiquated processes and structures that are no longer effective in new world business models. We will be celebrating their accomplishments and revealing the 2019 Radical of the Year Award at Shoptalk in Las Vegas on March 5th. Please join us for breakfast, including an inspirational message from Steve Sadove, former CEO of Saks Fifth Avenue.
The 10 finalists were selected through a process that involved submitting a nomination form and a first-round screening by an objective third-party panel of retail and brand experts. A distinguished jury of industry veterans will select the final winner. All 10 of our finalists, whatever their titles and roles, get it. Whether leading a team or the entire company, they are enlightened. And they have mentally jumped out of their legacy “boxes” and are creating new words and concepts, and therefore, new realities. They have been inducted into our inaugural Radicals Hall of Fame link.
Let’s meet three more of the finalists and learn why they are Radicals and how they shook up their legacy brands. We will be sharing the innovations of the other finalists leading up to the Radicals Awards breakfast.
Mili Seoni, Ascena Retail Group, Head of Business Development
Mili is constantly pursuing new sources of business innovation for Ascena, often outside of the retail industry, as opposed to an incremental mindset of extending current products. She has also focused on early stage startup trends and VC’s, to develop a view on patterns that apply to the industry and for Ascena. This led to the ideation, research, assessment (business case, vendor assessment), buy-in, and execution of Ann Taylor’s foray into a rental subscription model, called Infinite Style. Not only did she vet and understand the financial and strategic value of pursuing such a model, Mili was central in its quick adoption and execution, using a test-and-learn approach (with the full buy-in of her senior management).
The innovation and participation in the rental subscription space opened the potential of the model for the entire Ascena enterprise. Several of the other brands are now trying different types of partnerships with startups in the space with varying business models aligned with the brands’ positioning. Overall, Mili’s radical thinking has opened innovative new ways to serve its customers.
Doug Wood, Tommy Bahama, CEO, Seattle, WA
Doug has been responsible for growth of the company and the evolution of the popular lifestyle brand over the past 18 years. He has overseen the development of the company’s successful ecommerce business, licensing partnerships and Tommy Bahama’s retail /restaurant operation, which is the ultimate expression of this true lifestyle brand and an example of how to create an immersive retail experience. In fact, he was arguably the first lifestyle brand to create a compelling retail destination including music, entertainment and food.
His latest innovation was the introduction of the Tommy Bahama Marlin Bar, a new fast-casual restaurant, music concept and retail store. Successful from a business perspective, the Marlin Bars also give the Tommy Bahama guest a new way to experience the brand. There are currently two, with plans to roll out four in the next year and more after that. Doug’s leadership and vision has driven the transformation from a predominantly wholesale company to a more direct-to-consumer business that includes retail, restaurant, entertainment and e-commerce.
Brock Weatherup, Petco, Chief Strategic Innovation & Digital Experience Officer
Brock Weatherup leads Petco’s innovation acceleration efforts, incubating new ideas to engage pet parents and ensure the company’s long-term relevance. Additionally, Brock leads Petco’s e-commerce and digital strategy.
Brock joined Petco in 2017 following the company’s acquisition of PetCoach, the groundbreaking digital platform (he was CEO and co-founder) dedicated to providing pet parents with real-time access to online veterinary consultations and a plethora of information regarding common pet-related questions. Petco launched PetCoach in July 2018, a first-of-its-kind pet care retail concept offering pet parents a new way of providing complete care for their pets.
Knowing today’s consumers can buy almost everything from their home, Petco aims to reinvent the traditional “pet store” experience with PetCoach offering complete pet care services – from grooming, training and daycare to full-service veterinary care. That can’t be delivered by mail or a mass retailer!
The model brings the previously online-only platform to life in a retail setting with the highest-quality personalized pet services, products and experiences designed through a veterinary lens to address total pet health and wellness. While it’s a service-focused model, PetCoach is enhanced by digital and mobile tools so pet parents have 24/7 access to the expert level support they need to take the best possible care of their pets.
The new PetCoach experience and learning lab environment is a key element of Petco’s go-forward strategy and a clear example of how the company is evolving to meet the needs of modern consumers in a competitive, digital-driven landscape. Since the inauguration of the first location, the test-and-learn concept continues gathering valuable insights on how best to serve pet parents. With PetCoach, Brock helped bring innovation and an entrepreneurial mindset to Petco’s growth strategy, ensuring a continued response to consumers’ evolving needs.
Please join me at Shoptalk on March 5th to congratulate these three finalists and find out who will be the winner of the 2019 Radical of the Year Award.