Innovate with Design Thinking

Ready to improve your product development process?

As you rethink your product development process, are you looking for techniques to 

  • discover unmet consumer needs? 
  • define problems and value propositions? 
  • pitch concepts? 
  • get customer feedback? 

Enter design thinking—a human-centered approach we use with clients to better understand customer needs and design innovative products and services that can fuel business growth. Whether your company makes consumer products, ingredients, packaging, or machinery, the basic design thinking concepts will help you solve product development challenges.  

This approach to innovating is focused on understanding the end user’s needs, quickly prototyping, and developing new ideas. Otherwise stated: design thinking provides you with tools and techniques that ensure you’re solving the right customer problem before rushing to a solution.  

Do you need to improve how you create and deliver products and services?

Let’s talk about how you can innovate with design thinking.

Impact Stories

Applying the Desirability Feasibility Viability Framework to Innovation

Does your innovation work focus on how to formulate products to meet consumer preferences, tastes, or trends? Many of our clients come to us for help in this area.  We use the Desirability-Feasibility-Viability (DFV) Framework to identify solutions across the supply chain. The Framework acknowledges the key challenge at any step of the innovation process. And it  encourages objectivity by allowing clients to consider whether a proposed product development process takes a balanced approach.

Design Thinking for Product Development

Do you need to improve your new product development process? Have you considered design thinking?  This approach enables us and our clients to start with the customer or end-user and identify problems that they’re having.  

image of a group working on a design thinking project


Amanda Rose’s quest to understand the interaction of forces in her hometown and in other communities propels her as the systems thinker she is. She shares how growing up in Eastern North Carolina shaped her understnding of how the world works. 

image of a globe to illustrate systems thinking

In their two-part series, Susan Mayer and Jamie Pero Parker, Ph.D. review sugars and their role in foods. They introduce the Design Thinking framework of desirability, feasibility, and viability (DFV). And they take a close look at how the DFV framework can be used to consider sugar’s role in different products and can lead to more focused sugar reduction strategies.

 Read Part I and Part II

Our Experts

headshot of Susan Mayer, CFS,

Susan Mayer, Food Industry Lead

With great problem-solving, strategic, and communication skills, our clients rely on Susan Mayer's experience in product development, product lifecycle management, and public-private food industry partnerships. Applying that expertise, Susan helps organization understand how technology, research, and the right suppliers can create innovation opportunities. Susan has an M.S. in Food Science and a B.S. in Foods from the University of Maryland, College Park, and is a Certified Food Scientist

Lawrence Blume, Ph.D. Food Industry Co-Lead

Lawrence Blume, Ph.D., is passionate about collaborative partnerships that bring innovative solutions to challenging research and development roadblocks. He helps life science, food & beverage, and consumer goods companies develop technical insights and business models that unlock and yield disruptive innovation in core products and markets. He received a Ph.D. in Physiology & Pharmacology from Wake Forest School of Medicine and a B.S. in Biology with a minor in Biochemistry from Duquesne University

headshot of amanda rose

Amanda Rose

Amanda Rose is at her core a systems thinker. Her career has been dedicated to supporting high-level, systems-change initiatives that leverage innovative technologies, cross-sectoral collaborations, and novel policy and market mechanisms to drive long-term impact in emerging markets. As an Innovation Advisor, Amanda combines a generative mindset for envisioning future systems change and a unique skillset in facilitation, design, research, and project management.

Tawanda Muzhingi, Ph.D.

Food scientist, nutritional biochemist and international development expert Tawanda Muzhingi, Ph.D., has over 20 years’ experience supporting innovation initiatives for food and agriculture companies and foundations. He's worked in international food business, food science, food policy and agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the US. Dr. Muzhingi received his Ph.D. in Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition and M.S. Food Policy and Applied Nutrition from Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts, and his B.S. in Nutrition from the University of Zimbabwe in Harare, Zimbabwe. In 2018, he received the IFT Emerging Leaders Network Award.

Jacob Smith, Ph.D.

Jacob Smith, Ph.D., leads research efforts for technology scouting and landscaping, partner identification and assessment, and technology commercialization assessment. Whether evaluating a next-generation propulsion technology for commercial potential or landscaping high barrier enabling coatings for more sustainable food packaging, Jacob collects, organizes, analyzes, and delivers research and results clearly and enables clients to easily evaluate the big picture and drill down to investigate the details.  Jacob received a Ph.D. in Chemistry from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a B.A. in Chemistry and Spanish from Austin College.

What innovation challenge can we help you solve?