Chick-Fil-A and The 6 Ps of Essential Innovation

Get ready to savour some fast food for thought! Explore innovation at Chick-Fil-A with Future Foundry's CEO, Jacob Dutton, and Michael McCathren, Sr Principal, Enterprise Innovation at Chick-fil-A

Yesterday, we sat down with Michael McCathren from Chick-Fil-A for this unique, deep-dive look at how the largest privately held restaurant group in the US is using customer-centred strategy and innovation to fuel growth of this iconic brand from Atlanta to the rest of the world

Michael leads Enterprise Innovation at  Chick-Fil-A, where he coaches teams on using design thinking to identify, design and test new ventures, products and service. In this episode we discussed:  

  • Chick-fil-A's growth story and founding principles.
  • The evolution of Chick-fil-A's innovation approach.
  • The role and impact of AI in streamlining innovation processes.
  • The importance of fostering a company culture that values experimentation.
  • Insights from Michael's book "The 6 P's of Essential Innovation."
  • The challenges and benefits of innovating in public v. privately-held companies.
  • The future of innovation in the fast food industry.
  • Much more

Here's what we covered: 

00:51 - Intro

02:10 - Where are you today?

06:33 - What drove your shift from Marketing to innovation?

09:15 - What does your 5 step innovation process look like at a high level?

09:47 - When moving into innovation, what are the key transferable skills?

13:31 - What's been your biggest learning curve from building and managing innovation culture?

19:33 - Fail fast and often isn't the right mantra, it's fail quickly and cheaply right?

20:38 - What has contributed to your longevity in your role?

23:34 - What's your point of view of how important innovation has been in Chick-fil-A's growth journey?

25:44 - How do you think corporate innovation roles in 2024 are going to change in the short term?

31:13 - How do you think AI will impact the way that you empathise with audiences?

35:45 - What are the 6P'S?

42:59 - Of the 6P's, where do people seem to struggle the most?

46:44 - How much of an advantage is being privately held as an organisation in terms of innovation?

50:29 - How much of the book influenced Chick-fil-A versus how much did Chick-fil-A influence the book?

52:22 - Looking forward to 2024, what are the key things you and your team would like to achieve over the next year?

53:58 - What's your big bold prediction for innovation for Fast Food restaurants?

55:25 - Do you think drugs like Ozempic could impact people's dining habits?

56:41 - How much should businesses spend on innovation/R&D as a percentage of revenue or profit?


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