Simple Mills – Head of Innovation – Mill Valley, CA

November 22, 2022

Job Description

Job title: Head of Innovation

Company: Simple Mills

Job description: Job description

Head of Innovation

Company Description

Simple Mills is a rapidly-growing company on the forefront of the clean food movement, transforming center store grocery aisles with products made from nutritious, purposeful ingredients. Simple Mills is a female-founded business, started by Katlin Smith in 2012 out of her own Kitchen. In the company’s short history, Simple Mills has disrupted the market to become the #1 bestselling natural baking mix, the #1 bestselling natural cracker, and the #1 bestselling natural cookie.

The company’s mission is to advance the holistic health of the planet and its people by positively impacting the way food is made. Simple Mills is distributed in 25,000+ stores nationally including Whole Foods, Target, Walmart, Kroger, Costco and more, and available online at retailers like Amazon and Thrive Market. The brand’s newest products include: Organic Seed Flour Crackers, Seed & Nut Flour Sweet Thins, and Soft-Baked Almond Flour Bars. Simple Mills has earned broad recognition from top tier media and industry associations- including a segment on our Founder & CEO Katlin Smith on . Our products have been featured in a wide array of top publications including Vogue, Women’s Health, Forbes, Business Insider, mindbodygreen, NOSH and many more. Simple Mills was also a 2020 Health Magazine Snack Award Winner!

Role Description

The Head of Innovation is a critical position within Simple Mills. This role leads the Simple Mills innovation team to create delicious and nutritious new food products that bring to life the brand’s mission of improving people and planetary health. The position reports to the Chief Mission, Innovation & Marketing officer and works closely with the Founder & CEO. This position manages a team of Innovation Marketing and Research & Development professionals and works across all functions within the organization. The role serves on the Simple Mills Leadership Team.

The ideal candidate must have demonstrated success in defining and executing the innovation vision, strategies, and pipelines for a brand, leading strategically complex and large scope innovation projects, managing multiple innovation projects simultaneously and managing direct reports and cross-functional teams. Importantly, successful applicants must possess a deep passion, knowledge and curiosity for natural food and the relationship between food and holistic health.

Key responsibilities include:

  • Create a world-class innovation engine that continuously brings big, impactful, people and planetary health-forward innovation to market on time and aligned with consumer, financial and business strategies
  • In partnership with CEO/Founder and CMO, define and rally the organization around the brand’s innovation vision; Inspire an innovation mind-set across the organization
  • Design the optimal innovation organization structure and ways of working with the cross-functional team
  • Establish practices and processes that help realize the innovation vision effectively and efficiently
  • Identify and pilot new approaches for consumer research, trend incorporation, ingredient identification, product design, and product testing to build internal innovation toolkit and develop proprietary innovation process
  • Ensure that the consumer and people and planetary health stay at the center of all innovation
  • Lead the innovation team in development of innovation strategies and multi-year innovation pipelines in existing and new categories
  • Leverage consumer, cultural, category, competitive, wellness trends and technical information to uncover white space opportunity areas for exploration
  • Design smart and efficient consumer research learning plans to map and quantify opportunities
  • Prioritize strategic areas for innovation; Define optimal innovation launch cadence across multiple categories
  • Lead cross-functional team to create consumer-centric concepts that are grounded in insights, differentiated, compelling, actionable and financially viable
  • Lead discovery, design, and commercialization of product innovations
  • Oversee management of product development from concept to shelf, including launch readiness assessment
  • Plan and facilitate dynamic work sessions to inspire innovative ideas, differential designs, and agile product iterations
  • Guide rapid concept, product, and packaging prototyping and development
  • Validate insights, concepts and product acceptability through consumer research and sensory evaluation
  • Drive execution excellence, ensuring innovation delivers on time and to expectations
  • Develop contingency plans and translate business strategy, consumer needs, and product readiness to manage project delivery and avoid delays
  • Facilitate creative problem solving to navigate roadblocks. Figure out how to make the seemingly impossible, possible
  • Partner with cross-functional partners to:
  • Develop business propositions including revenue and gross margin forecasts
  • Execute innovation with contract manufacturers
  • Craft compelling selling story and go-to-market plans for building awareness and trial
  • Lead conversations, host innovation sessions, and bring innovation subject matter expertise to retail presentations and press events
  • Monitor and track innovation in-market performance and incorporate learnings to optimize product and communications execution
  • Develop, coach, and recruit new Innovation Marketing and R&D team members
  • Manage Innovation Marketing and R&D budgets

Position Requirements

  • A deep passion, knowledge and curiosity for natural food and the relationship between food and holistic health. A desire to positively impact our food industry and thereby people and planetary wellness.
  • Understanding of Regenerative Agriculture is preferred, but not required.
  • A minimum of 10+ years of experience in Food CPG Marketing & Innovation is required.
  • A minimum of 3+ years in a dedicated innovation role is required.
  • MBA strongly preferred, but not required.
  • Big and small company experience
  • Experience leading cross-functional teams to develop ‘Big Bet’/new-to-the-world innovation
  • Innovation subject matter expertise including but not limited to opportunity identification and quantification, consumer research methodologies and design, positioning and concept development, product development, commercialization, business proposition/P&L development
  • Demonstrated success in executing innovation to deliver on time, within budget and to consumer and internal expectations.
  • Entrepreneurial mindset: Comfortable with ambiguity and making decisions with incomplete information. An owner and problem solver.
  • Disciplined, strategic thought leader: Creates structure and organization out of the ambiguous and complex. Effortlessly moves between big picture and detail.
  • Exceptional leadership and communication skills: Has supportive and candid conversations with leaders of all levels and tenure. Builds alignment across a fast-growing organization.
  • An essential function of this role includes tasting and working in the vicinity of various food allergens.

Benefits of Working at Simple Mills

  • You will make a huge impact as a key member of an emerging brand that’s changing the way we eat and facing explosive growth
  • Working with a vibrant community of passionate team members that are driven by healthy food that tastes good and fuels your body
  • We strive to foster and embed a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion across our organization. We know it is not only critical to the success of diversity initiatives – but instrumental in creating an equitable and inclusive workplace! It also creates a positive employee experience. DEI will remain at the center of our people strategy as grow and scale our organization.
  • Our culture is aligned with doing good in the world and we are committed to the environment, fairness to employees and to our customers
  • Integrating into a company that is passionate about its people and their development, with consistent training and multiple forums/platforms to participate in, contribute to and learn from
  • Employee benefits include robust Health Benefits packages, 401(k) plan, Unlimited PTO offering, one-time stipend for getting your home workspace setup, monthly cell phone/internet stipend, health & wellness stipends, product stipends and many other perks!

Compensation will be competitive for the ideal candidate. Simple Mills operates with a hybrid-model: a balance of in-person and virtual work. Hybrid employees will work from our Mill Valley office 3-4 days per week. When working remotely, employees must work from a designated location in the United States (the new hire’s permanent residence, as documented in our HR System, Rippling) with sufficient internet access to support video conferencing. Safety protocols in accordance with CDC recommendations are followed.

At Simple Mills, we are committed to providing an environment of mutual respect and inclusion. Equal employment opportunities are available to all applicants and teammates without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, gender (including pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions), sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, past or present military service, physical or mental disability, or other applicable legally protected characteristics. All aspects of employment are decided on the basis of business need, job requirements, and individual qualifications. #LI-DNI

Simple Mills is committed to the full inclusion of all qualified individuals. As part of this commitment, Simple Mills will ensure that persons with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodations. If reasonable accommodations are needed to participate in the job application or interview process, to perform essential job functions, and/or to receive other benefits and privileges of employment, please contact [email protected]

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Location: Mill Valley, CA

Job date: Tue, 22 Nov 2022 04:58:54 GMT


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