CRAEVS – Create Your Concept Sprint

Inspire creative conceptual design through co-creation

By Dave Lundahl and Brittany Kovacevic

How do you take an idea and turn it into a conceptual design of a product before you start building it?

Success in product development depends on getting your conceptual design right.  Missing the mark leads to wasted time and resources in downstream development, and risk of failure in commercialization. For this reason, concepting is an important sprint within the CRAEVS solution.  The concepting sprint applies consumer and behavioral techniques that tap into the minds of consumers as co-creation participants to help inspire, guide and focus culinary product developers who possess deep knowledge into how to conceptually design foods to focus benchtop prototyping.

This is a 3-4-week sprint that involves three steps.

Step 1

The first step takes inputs from the prior Finding Your Focus sprint, such as what is the target category, the competitive set, the moments of use, and associated ingredients, claims, perceived benefits, and brand perceptions that a new or renovated product must compete in to disrupt.  This information is used to establish a baseline upon which consumers as participants are placed through a series of activities called PlayFULL Insights® to creatively imagine the future of new products.  This technique uses play with Legos® for participants to build models with the building blocks representing metaphors for imagined hypothetical ideal products. What does that category look like? What does that product do? How does it get packaged? What is the consumption moment?  Using Legos, the users can show us their version of the future product category and the models become a tool for deeper discussion and learnings to apply to the design concepts.

Step 2

The second step is to design concepts with Culinologists and consumers.  The technical information from the category, ingredient, technology, and product evaluation is combined with the inputs from the first PlayFULL Insights® step. Research is transformed into paper concepts by culinary product developers who are trained to create foods with the specific signals of importance.  This step is highly customizable per project. It can be a very iterative process of sharing concept development with consumers for feedback to continuously build on concepts (as many repeats to this process as designed). Alternatively, consumers can be presented with a last round of concepts for reactions. This will answer very valuable questions needed to set a product up for disruptive success. How do we win? What is the point of difference with the competition? Are we within the white space opportunity? The paper concepts ultimately developed will walk through the platform title, representative SKU iterations, benefits and differentiators, potential packaging and feasibility considerations, and inspirational graphics.

Step 3

In the third step, consumers judge the paper concepts against each other and against category competitors through quantitative techniques.   The winning concepts move forward into a subsequent prototyping sprint within the CRAEVS solution. This will tell you which concepts have the greatest behavioral impact and disruptive potential against the competitive baseline. It is important that these selected concepts have their design direction documented within the Product Profile Sheets to serve as the guiding principles of the product before moving into benchtop development.

With the final Product Profile Sheets in hand, culinary product developers are ready to head to the benchtop and begin translating the elements of concepts with the greatest potential to disrupt. You are now armed with the behavioral insights and product knowledge to have confidence in the concepts moving towards development, commercialization, and scale.

FIND YOUR FOCUS: Clean Label Category Review

Gain category and competitive insights, uncover the opportunities for success

By Emily Cruz (CuliNex) and Dave Lundahl (InsightsNow)

While there are many different product development philosophies, the product development process looks relatively similar across different industries. In today’s hyper competitive clean label marketplace, the entire process needs to happen in record time, i.e. yesterday. Because of this, once the initial discovery process is complete it can be tempting to jump straight into concept ideation and validation, but that can be a fatal mistake. Successful product development requires a deep understanding of consumer behaviors and desires, the competitive environment, and potential whitespace opportunities. How do you thoughtfully narrow the path of focus while sprinting towards product launch in record time? And how do you develop a successful strategy to win in the category?

Enter the CRAEVS Solution, a series of rapid, iterative sprints that starts with an intensive “Find Your Focus” 1-2-week Category Deep Dive sprint.  This sprint will help you make informed decisions by asking the right questions from the very inception of a project. This step is vital in bringing focus for successful downstream concepting, prototyping and validation in market.

Key questions to answer during the “Find Your Focus” sprint include, “what is the competitive set?”  This typically is discovered by considering where will your new innovation or renovated product play, i.e. what category or categories might it be placed into within a store shelf set? Innovation initiatives may have already addressed this question through a white space discovery study.  In any case, defining your competitive set helps provide additional focus by answering the next question, “what criteria will you use to achieve success in-market?” Are you seeking to protect your position in a category or to take share away from other competitive brands? It also provides a framework to ask about your product design strategy to achieve your defined success criteria.

The “Find Your Focus” sprint includes an in-depth review of the category and consumer behaviors, including physical and/or virtual retail store walks.  It includes a competitive landscape review including an evaluation of current and competitive products to uncover potential opportunities to achieve your success criteria through product design.  Consumer research is also typically conducted to create the baseline category KPI’s (drivers of choice) that you can use to not only make early product design decisions, but to establish success KPIs for successive sprints.  This can include the building of product scorecards and recommended formulation strategies through consumer and product insights. It can also include consumer insights through primary research or by accessing the InsightsNow Innovation Center of information about which ingredients are most perceived to be clean label or most importance to include as a claims, or to identify which ingredients are most associated to benefits that position your product from your competition.

Finding Your Focus is a quick, essential sprint to add prior to concepting and prototyping. It will not only inspire and guide concepting and future prototyping, it will help you establish baselines for concept, prototype, in-market product success criteria in-store and in-home.

Ultimately, this multi-dimensional category research will serve to drive your strategy to win and set your brand up for success.

Innovation Discovery at the Convergence of Technology, Product and Behavioral White Space

CRAEVS to Build Successful Innovation Pipelines

By Dave Lundahl (InsightsNow), Emily Cruz (CuliNex) and Matt Ferguson (Xinova)

Product innovation has been called the “life blood” of a food company.  Stop innovating and your organization is certain to grow old and eventually die.  For this reason, one of the most important activities a food company can do is invest in the Discovery process – the innovation front end.  Many marketing, development and innovation professionals call the innovation front end the “fuzzy front end.” However, if you are going to invest in Discovery, it is critical that this process be anything but fuzzy.  It needs to bring clarity to focus your valuable product development and commercialization resources to achieve a high return on your innovation investments.

There is never a lack of ideas.  Even good ideas can be a dime a dozen.  Winning ideas are forged by creative focus at the innovation front end where three white spaces converge.  This includes ideas filling Product White Space where your competitors are not playing, Technology White Space where your competitors cannot play, and Behavioral White Space where there is great disruptive potential.

Venn Diagram 2020-11-5

Understanding opportunities at this convergence of white spaces is easier said than done.  Ideas that only fill Product White Space may be different, but not disruptive.  Disruptive ideas are both different (i.e. filling up product white space) and change consumer behaviors (e.g. fill up behavioral white space).  Bush Brothers, for example, achieved success by changing behavior through its Grillin’ Beans line for the outdoor cooking and eating moment.  Discovering this underserved moment was key to success. Simply coming up with another line of bean products differentiated by flavor or type of bean would likely have gotten lost in the clutter. Products targeting behavioral white space are “sticky.”  They provide differentiation beyond form and functionality, becoming the sole product for new routines and habits, sometimes creating completely new categories.

Further, ideas which are different and disruptive may be initially successful, but too easily copied.  Unless your brand owns a category, success may quickly lead to competitors and a new round of commoditization to depress margins.  Access to technical unlocks creates technical white space.  Technical white space not only leads to different and disruptive product ideas it can also places significant barriers to slow down competition likely to follow success.

For these reasons, we are excited to introduce CRAEVS Discovery – a fresh solution for the innovation front end.  This solution combines the behavioral marketing research expertise of InsightsNow with the food product development expertise of CuliNex and the open innovation technology expertise of Xinova.   Using an integrated working process, we are able to deliver commercially viable new product ideas targeting opportunities discovered at the convergence of technology, product, and behavioral white space.

CRAEVS Discovery delivers innovative food product platform concepts, differentiated by technology, and developed by culinologists to be delicious, culinary-inspired, and commercializable at scale. Consumer research identifies those platforms able to play over the broadest landscape of moments and have the greatest disruptive potential to change consumer behaviors.  These platforms are used to create early prototypes ready for downstream development and commercialization initiatives.

Over the next five weeks please look for more posts drilling down into CRAEVS details, uncovering how you can use take your viable new product ideas and to rapidly sprint to in-market success through the CRAEVS Solution.

New Product Development Approach

CRAEVS: Clean Label Research Through Agile Evolutions into Stores

By Mark Crowell, CuliNex LLC

As a product development (PD) professional, running PD teams at both large multi-nationals (and for the past 16 years) at my own small product development consultancy, CuliNex, one question has nagged me above all others, “Why do so many new products fail?”

Admittedly, simple questions often have surprisingly complex answers… and there are certainly many ways to fail: inadequate company capitalization, poor distribution, incorrect pricing/margins, mediocre package design, and so forth. However, I am a product developer and I only control the PD process, so for me the question boils down to asking, “Could changes to the PD process itself improve the odds of new product success?” After two years of development and testing, I now know the answer is a resounding YES!

Working with Dave Lundahl, CEO of behavioral consumer research firm InsightsNow, we jointly developed the CRAEVS Solution. CRAEVS brings together the latest Product Development and Behavioral research methodologies into one seamless solution that is fast, efficient, cost effective and grounded in consumer insights.

A series of product development and consumer research sprints move seamlessly from category research and market analysis, through development, and on to retail store and home use testing in a series of five sprints. These sprints cover the four essential D’s of the CRAEVS Solution, Discovery, Design, Delivery, and Drive into the marketplace.

For projects seeking blue sky solutions or complex technical unlocks, (where products and categories aren’t yet defined), there is what we call “White Space Discovery.” This occurs prior to the CRAEVS sprints and seeks to uncover new to the marketplace opportunities to disrupt consumer behaviors through a combination of technology innovation, product platforms and consumer behavioral impact discoveries. These discoveries come in the form of viable new product ideas with example prototypes targeting the opportunity to achieve market breakthroughs.

As the white space discoveries evolving out of Discovery are viable new product ideas, they can quickly be Designed, Delivered and Driven to market success through the CRAEVS solution—a series of rapid, iterative learning sprints. These sprints take the viable idea, and rapidly Design the product against Discovered behavioral KPIs established to ensure success in market disruption. This solution also shortens time to market through a Delivery sprint where prototypes are produced in a pilot run, ready for rapid, in-store and in-home testing to ensure the behavioral KPIs (key performance indicators) are met.

The result? A 60% increase in successful market launches and a 30% improvement in speed to market. Proven success from a proven process. That’s CRAEVS.

Over the next six weeks please look for more posts that drill down into CRAEVS details, uncovering how you can use the CRAEVS Solution to sprint to success through the four Ds of innovation.

To learn more now, reach out to us today

Webinar 47: Sprinting to Success

From Idea to Store Shelf in Record Time

Presentation Date:   Thursday, December 10, 2pm ET (11am PT)   
:   Dave Lundahl, CEO InsightsNow Inc. and Mark Crowell, CEO Culinex LLC

Dave Lundahl, CEO of behavioral consumer research firm InsightsNow, and Mark Crowell, CEO of Clean Label Product Development firm CuliNex, will discuss the CRAEVS Solution. CRAEVS brings together the latest product development and behavioral research methodologies into one seamless solution that is fast, efficient, cost effective and grounded in consumer insights. These sprints cover the 4 essential D’s of Innovation, discovery, design, delivery, and drive into the marketplace.  In November, they presented a webinar on the front end of Innovation - White Space Discovery.

This webinar will complete the journey through some case studies of rapid, iterative sprinting.  These sprints take any viable idea, and rapidly Design the product against Discovered behavioral KPIs established to ensure market disruption.  This solution also shortens time to market through a Delivery sprint where prototypes are produced in a pilot run, and made ready for rapid, in-store and in-home testing to ensure the behavioral KPIs are met.

The result? A 60% increase in successful market launches and a 30% improvement in speed to market. Proven success from a proven process. That’s CRAEVS.


Webinar 46: Three Dimensions of White Space Discovery

Presentation Date:   Thursday, November 19, 2pm ET (11am PT)   
: :  Dave Lundahl, CEO InsightsNow Inc., Mark Crowell, CEO Culinex LLC, and Matt Ferguson, Vice President of Innovation Services, Xinova

Winning ideas are forged by creative focus at the innovation front end where three white spaces converge.  This includes ideas filling Product White Space where your competitors are not playing, Technology White Space where your competitors cannot play, and Behavioral White Space where there is great disruptive potential.

In this webinar, experts from 3 of the country’s leading innovation firms, Xinova, CuliNex and InsightsNow will premiere a new, joint solution for CPG brands called CRAEVS™ Discovery.

We will discuss the CRAEVS™ Discovery methodology and provide case studies that illustrate how we apply behavioral metrics to guide product platform discovery enabled by game-changing technologies.  The results are exciting: a pipeline of viable product ideas with prototypes ready to develop into commercialized award-winning products.

Rapid Product Development Solution Launched by InsightsNow and CuliNex

CRAEVS Solution developed to help food and beverage companies take products quickly through concept, commercialization and commerce stages. 

30 September 2020 – Portland, OR – InsightsNow, a behavioral research firm, in partnership with CuliNex, a clean label product development consulting firm for the food industry, have released a new product development solution called CRAEVS (an acronym for Clean Label Research through Agile Evolutions into Stores). The companies brought together their respective consumer insights and culinary innovation expertise to build this end-to-end solution for food and beverage company’s innovation efforts. 

 “The solution is a first for the food industry. It brings together the creativity of culinary experts, inspired and guided by consumer insights, to accelerate cost effective product development timelines,” said Dave Lundahl, CEO and Founder of InsightsNow. “The all-in-one solution not only streamlines the process from initial opportunity all the way to the store shelf to deliver cleaner, healthier food product alternatives sought by consumers, it is especially needed during current times to help companies overcome the workflow disruptions caused by the ongoing pandemic.” 

The CRAEVS Solution was built to take food product and marketing teams through five sprints in a completely integrated process:  

  1.  Clean Label Category Review: Understand competitive space and potential consumers, find your focus
  2. Co-Create Concepts: Gather qualitative consumer data to create and refine concepts
  3. Co-Design Products & Packaging: Develop and measure effectiveness of target prototypes 
  4. Commercialize Products & Packaging: Scale production conditions and match prototype to goals 
  5. Retail Store or Home Use Testing: Validate the product and get shelf performance feedback

The five phases are implemented through a single teamformed by InsightsNow and CuliNex, structured to bring together culinary and food science innovation with insights from consumers in a rapid iterative manner. 

 “By using insights-driven research, we are able to partner together to inspire, guide and validate the product development process,” said Mark Crowell, CEO of CuliNex. “Between our two teams, we have 100+ years of development experience that can help food and beverage companies say ahead of trends—particularly for clean label products.” 

To learn more about CRAEVS, please visit  

 About InsightsNow 

InsightsNow, an award-winning behavioral research firm, partners with companies across a wide array of industry verticals to accelerate marketing, branding and product development decisions for disruptive innovations achieving a cleaner, healthier world. Insights are provided via custom solutions and assisted DIY tools based on proprietary behavioral frameworks to help find answers faster, improving your speed-to and success-in market. 

 About CuliNex 

CuliNex is a product development consultancy specializing in the development of delicious clean label food products. CuliNex works with brand owners, food manufacturers, ingredient suppliers, retailers, and multi-unit foodservice operators to achieve their growth goals by bringing successful products to market. 



Media contact: Michelle Andre, 415-577-8634,