We love to say anything can be innovated, anyone can innovate and innovation can happen anywhere. Silicon Valley and other recognized innovation hubs do not have a lock on innovation or a secret sauce that cannot be modeled or improved on. It takes a willingness to put time, your resources, explore and expand your creativity (we all have it) beyond where you are today to see the non-obvious. When you do, you will be like our Kentucky guests, innovating in a non-traditional innovation hub, non-traditional way and a non-high tech innovation.
In our show this week we had the opportunity to interview the founders of Fin Gourmet Foods. Started in 2010, Fin Gourmet is a Kentucky Proud Producer™ of wild-caught Asian Carp products. So why Asian Carp. It has the highest source of healthy clean protein and Omega-3 fatty acids, on par with wild caught salmon. Nowhere else in the world but the USA are Asian Carp wild-caught, and those from Western KY are of the best quality. More importantly this innovation story is unique. Fin’s mission and vision are that the Asian Carp provide economic opportunities for the communities, fostering job creation and revitalizing the inland fishing industry.
Defining and Tackling a Problem Statement
The team at Fin Gourmet defined the problems and challenges and engaged in disruptive ideation. As an integral part of their innovation process they considered some basic assumptions of innovation to create value including:
- Turn other people’s trash into a product: Fin took the Asian Carp, which is an invasive species that is taking over the Mississippi and Ohio river systems, and innovated a way to turn it into a great food source.
- Give opportunities to people overlooked: In addition to locating in a rural part of the country, Fin works with local halfway houses to offer jobs to former prison inmates and others down on their luck. Training, teaching and building a culture that values and leverages the abilities of all.
- Breathe life back into an industry overlooked by others: Fin pays a premium price for what many considered “trash” to help local independent fishing families to transition to this new species of fish and the economy it can support.
What is the Non-Obvious Innovation at Fin?
Fin has two patented innovative processing techniques to:
- Debone Asian Carp fillets and
- Make all-natural surimi (Japanese fish paste) from the Carp without using water or chemicals.
With their innovative model, process and approach Fin Gourmet is making a big impact locally and across the globe with their products and story. The Fin founders, together with fisherman like Ronny Hopkins, we will better manage the Asian Carp so that our rivers/lakes/estuaries are better protected while employing people who need second chances from incarceration, drug court, domestic violence, or just to have a better life path.
If you find yourself in a fog with innovation, why don’t you head over to The Innovators Community. It is a great place to connect and get energized and refreshed around innovation or send me a private message and I will respond. I’d love to hear from you. If you would like to learn more on ideation techniques to look Beyond the Obvious take a look at our Disruptive Ideation Workshops. Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to join us today.
To learn more about non-obvious innovation and Fin Gourmet Foods, listen to this week's show: Innovation Can Happen Anywhere, to Anything and by Anyone!