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Warm Ice Cream--Nestle Designs Large Scale Social Systems

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on October 16, 2009

I was a co-host at BIF5 last week (Business Innovation Factory) and had a wonderfully insightful public conversation with Helmut Traitler, the
Vice President of Innovation Partnerships for Nestlé who talked about warm ice cream. Yes, warm ice cream, an oxymoron to my ears.

But not to Helmut’s. He explained that if you could transport ice cream when it was room temperature and freeze it at the retail point, the savings in energy costs could be enormous. I added that the saving in CO2 and other pollutants from the special fleet of refrigerated trucks could be enormous as well.

So Nestle is really thinking about the design of large-scale systems when it thinks about warm ice cream. If the company can pull it off—and it is a big technical if—it will have introduced a powerful disruptive innovation into the ice cream biz that has seriously important business and social consequences. The big “if,” of course, is how do you create an ice cream that you can move over long distances and then freeze at the point of sale? Helmut talked about the special “foam” of ice cream that needs to be generated.

I’d love to learn more about ice cream “foam.” Anyone in this conversation up on the technology of ice cream foam?

Reader Comments


October 17, 2009 4:21 AM


October 18, 2009 3:46 PM

Innovation "discussions" needs to be "honest and authentic."
Apparently, Helmut and Bruce are not knowledeable of the past Space Programs? "Fail to know innovation, condemned to repeat it." Sounds like Nestle needs to get with the program. Did they make the Toll House cookies for NASA?


October 20, 2009 12:10 AM

The foam in ice cream is air incorporated during the churn/freezing process. Without the churning during the freezing process it would just be a tasty hard frozen ice cube. I am afraid to think how that foam would be created without the churning. We would probably need a larger container for the ice cream in order to list the additional ingredients needed to achieve that objective.

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Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.

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