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When Observation Becomes Innovation: Lessons for the CPG Industry

January 31, 2018

By Shannon Cooksey, Vice President, GMA Science and Regulatory Affairs

The seismic shift of consumer preferences paired with the evolution of science, has brought innovation to the forefront of the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) industry. As the rate of exchange of information increases, it has become both an opportunity and necessity for CPG companies to explore new science, ideas and perspectives.

The CPG industry is not alone in facing major disruption in the marketplace. By observing how other industries have adapted or innovated the way they do business, CPG professionals can gain valuable insight and solutions to tackle the challenges they face today.

Grant Imahara, roboticist, animatronics engineer and modelmaker for some of Hollywood’s biggest box office hits, is a speaker at the upcoming GMA Science Forum, which is March 26-29. He will offer his perspective on innovation in the film industry. In advance of his appearance, Imahara responded to several questions –   and reveals the most memorable myth he debunked during his role on Discovery Channel’s hit show Mythbusters:

  1. You have worked as an animatronics engineer on many major motion pictures including Star Wars. How have you seen technology change the film industry and how do you see these changes translating to the CPG industry?

Imahara: In the mid-1990s, the visual effects industry experienced a quantum shift with the advancements in computer graphics. Suddenly, traditional ways of thinking and doing things were no longer preferred. As professionals, we had to adapt to new techniques to remain competitive. Adapt or become obsolete.

  1. The GMA Science Forum event brings the CPG science community together to discuss emerging science and innovation. Where do you find inspiration for your next innovation?

Imahara: Generally speaking, my inspiration usually comes from the world around me. Wherever I go, I look at the way things are made and how they work. I store this as a kind of “solution database” that constantly processes in the background. And when I need a stroke of inspiration, I search my database for something that I’ve seen that could be applied. In this way, the design for a robot’s arm could come from a bird’s wing or a funky latch I saw somewhere in my travels. I guess you could say inspiration is all around us!

  1. What was your most memorable food myth “busted” on Mythbusters?

Imahara: Hot Chile Cures. We tried all kinds of solutions including water, beer, tequila, vaseline, wasabi, and toothpaste – in the end, nothing was better than milk!

There is knowledge to be gained from those who have innovated and adapted to seize a new future. To hear more from Grant Imahara, join me at GMA’s 2018 Science Forum in Washington, D.C. – Register here today!


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