Giovanni Battistini

Sr. Vice President, Open Innovation Science, Ferrero

1. Why did you choose a career in the food industry?

I started in tech, innovating in several industries, but about 7 years ago I realized that Food presented some very exciting (and pressing) opportunities to innovate where I could leverage my experience. The dynamics are different, but the innovation models are often transferable, as I eventually found out.


2. What are your main responsibilities in your role?

In my current role, I built and have been managing a new global Open Innovation team focused on breakthrough science and technology innovation.


3. What are your three biggest challenges on a daily basis?

In my job, the main challenge is often to establish as early as possible the weakest component in an innovation opportunity being pursued, and – the next one – is to decide to kill the opportunity if necessary. The third biggest challenge is about targeting the right level of communication appropriate for different internal and external stakeholders.


4. With regards to your session, why is Open Innovation crucial to new product development in the food industry?

The pace of innovation is too fast to fit the closed model any longer.


5. What has been the most important learning from your work on the Open Hazelnut Initiative with the MIT Media Lab?

Agriculture can benefit greatly from open data and open innovation, if one can design an effective platform model.


6. What key innovation or trend do you see as having the largest impact in the food industry in 2018?

I see the emergence of digital disrupting everywhere. From agri, to personal technology, packaging to digital biology, and from product formulation to food delivery.

See the full agenda here.