FoodGrads Book Club Chapter 10 SWITCH

SWITCH Book Club, a virtual reading experience with Food Grads followers and graduate students from Northeastern University in a synchronized reading of SWITCH – How to Change Things when Change is Hard, by Chip Heath & Dan Heath.

Chapter 10: Keep the switch going

SWITCH: The Final Chapter

RelatedIntroducing the FoodGrads Book Club

You don’t often hear about a new company that simply enters industry – for those who can be described as ‘disruptors’ capture the headlines.  Consumers expect innovation and technology as differentiators.  At the same time, there will never be an end to the #HerculeanEffort needed in the food industry to address food reputation concerns of food authenticity, food defense, food quality, food safety, and food security.

Successful journeys are dotted with first steps and many milestones along the way to a goal.  However, what if the goal becomes a larger milestone to an even larger goal? The idea that arriving at one achievement and being able to go without conquering new challenges and raising to new heights.

In education, we refer to the long game as ‘Life-Long Learning’.  Recognize and celebrate the first steps and all the way to the last steps. Build upon the early learning, take on new risks and additional elements, and then plan for your next act.

This book focuses on making changes when change is hard.  Those who end up following the ideas from the authors will directed the rider, motivated the elephant, and shaped the path.  To keep this momentum going, leaders need to celebrate the successes, recognize the bright spots (especially the hard work of so many,) and reinforce the journey.

In my opinion, there are two types of leaders when it comes to making changes, those who proactively set new goals based on their analysis of need, and those who are only making changes because they are forced to after failures drove pressure from stakeholders or policymakers.

We cannot predict all the changes we need to make, but if we are not looking, then we will not find them.

Also, even the newest, most innovative brands go through continuous improvement.  This past weekend, I learned that a major company (known for delivering meal ingredients for consumers to cook) has reimaged their service to include the option for subscribers to return the disposable material to the company, thus dealing with the concern of wasteful packaging.

Some changes in the food industry are invisible to the consumer, while others include press coverage and pressure from advocacy groups.  Ultimately, while the market has a great external influence on change, so, too, do the many leaders in the industry.  Change is not often easy, but it is always a factor from the farm to the fork.

Author: Dr. Darin Detwiler, LP.D., M.A.Ed., is the Assistant Dean at Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies. He is a professor of food regulatory policy, specializing in food safety, global economics of food and agriculture, Blockchain, and food authenticity.  Detwiler recently received the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) Distinguished Service Award (Sponsored by Food Safety Magazine.)


Twitter: @DarinDetwiler

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