How can product leaders drive business reinvention? In this episode of Capgemini’s Leaders in Innovation series with Capgemini Americas Portfolio Lead Lisa Mitnick, Altria CPO & CIO Olivier Houpert shares insights from his 31 years of experience at Procter & Gamble and his decision to take on a new challenge at Altria. He speaks on Altria’s transformation journey to launch smoke-free products through a focus on consumer needs, partnerships, and a test-and-learn approach to innovation. Olivier emphasizes the importance of remaining consumer-centric and optimistic about driving change in the tobacco industry.

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Show Notes

  1. One person like an influential teacher can change the trajectory of someone’s life and career.
  2. Unexpected opportunities and connections can arise from embarrassing moments.
  3. A career in product leadership involves diverse roles and industries over many years.
  4. Pivoting to a new challenge keeps work interesting and allows one to have positive impact.
  5. Understanding consumer needs is paramount for any product innovation.
  6. Leveraging core competencies increases chances of success over straying from expertise.
  7. Most new products fail, requiring a test-and-learn approach to de-risk innovation.
  8. Partnerships can help access new capabilities and markets when building new offerings.
  9. Win-win partnerships benefit both parties through collaboration.
  10. Playing to win means superior products that increase differentiation over time.
  11. Incubation allows quick learning from minimum viable products and small-scale testing.
  12. Scaling distribution is key for products with potential but limited reach.
  13. Financial and usage goals provide ambition and metrics for transformation.
  14. Organizational structure impacts ability to connect insights to product development.
  15. Anticipating consumer behavior shifts requires flexibility and vision.
  16. Consumer preferences ultimately determine adoption over forced solutions.
  17. Optimism and perseverance enable ambitious goals and industry change.
  18. Focusing on elevating consumer experiences drives conversion to new offerings.
  19. Driving business reinvention requires balancing legacy and future.
  20. Product leadership is rewarding yet challenging work with big responsibilities.

*Altria has a leading portfolio of tobacco products for U.S. tobacco consumers 21+. In combustibles, they own Philip Morris USA, the maker of Marlboro cigarettes and John Middleton, manufacturer of Black & Mild cigars. Their smoke-free portfolio includes ownership of U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company, the maker of Copenhagen and Skoal, Helix Innovations, the maker of on! oral nicotine pouches and NJOY, maker of NJOY ACE, currently the only pod-based e-vapor product with market authorization from the Food and Drug Administration.

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