General Mills Open Innovation Town Halls

by Stefan Lindegaard

General Mills Open Innovation Town HallsOne of the cases I discussed at the Innovation3 conference in Orlando was the Town Hall meetings concept from General Mills.

As part of the their open innovation strategy, General Mills has developed an effective town hall meeting strategy which helps them efficiently make meaningful connections around the globe with potential partners.

General Mills was kind enough to share some insights on their program:

  • When planning your town hall event, select a time when there is already a food or technology industry event happening to ensure that you’ll have a large number of relevant people in the area. Then, secure a speaking role for a member of your team at the conference or event to increase your visibility and credibility for your program.
  • Once you decide on a location, partner with a trusted guide in the region who can help you understand the culture and who best to invite to your town hall meeting. For example, you could consider using free resources from a trade and export agencies.
  • When you decide who you will invite, encourage potential attendees to visit your website up front to become familiar with your company and the types of technical challenges that you’re looking to solve.
  • During the town hall meeting, we always explain the heart and mission of our company, what we’re looking for, and what opportunities we have for the attendees to partner with us. The meeting also provides them with an opportunity to network with each other and chat with us one-on-one for thirty minutes. During the one-on-one meetings, we’re most interested in learning about our potential partners’ core competencies, and what technical challenges they could solve.
  • We follow up with the potential partners who were a best fit in terms of core competencies, ability to solve our challenges and interest in the partnership.

Check this link for a presentation from one of their Town Hall meetings (or see it embedded below).

General Mills, thanks for sharing!

What do you think of this approach?

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Stegan LindegaardStefan Lindegaard is a speaker, network facilitator and strategic advisor who focus on the topics of open innovation, intrapreneurship and how to identify and develop the people who drive innovation