We have a new founding member! We are delighted to announce that the Diana group, a leading producer of natural ingredient solutions for the food, petfood, nutraceutical and aquaculture industries, is partnering with AcceleRise. With a strong culture of innovation, Diana aims through this partnership to strengthen its ecosystem of innovators - innovators within FoodTech startups but also those leading intrapreneurial projects for the company.
We talked to Jean-Yves Parisot, president of Diana, about his vision for this partnership.

What does foodtech mean for diana?

Jean-Yves Parisot: For us, FoodTech is a means of making progress in food industry innovation. Diana, the Nutrition division of Symrise, is a world leader in naturally-based ingredient solutions for food, petfood (cats and dogs) and aquaculture. We also have a probiotic activity through our subsidiary Probi. Innovation is one of the main drivers of growth for Diana and we have created a structure dedicated to innovation in the health and nutrition sectors: Diana Nova.
But to help us respond to trends and movements within the food industry, FoodTech represents an enormous potential. It means exploring the potential of digital technologies applied to the whole food value chain, but also advances in the area of food science, new primary ingredients or processing technologies allowing us to develop a food offer that is more sustainable while still meeting consumer expectations. 
We are convinced that accelerating FoodTech startups is key to boosting food industry innovation.


Precisely, how Do you work with startups?

JY Parisot: Building an ecosystem of startups is pretty much indispensable for large companies looking to innovate and be more agile towards emerging market opportunities. By joining the founding members of AcceleRise, we are looking to optimise our ability to identify and access young innovators.
Our aim is to assist and support them in their development while identifying innovations that can allow us to deal with our main challenges: quality and control of primary products, food safety, but also traceability and sustainability.

An aspect of your innovation strategy is the principal of intrapreneurship. What does this mean?

JY Parisot: Inspiration for innovation can come from sources outside of the company but can also emerge from within. Intrapreneurship is a methodology applied within large companies to allow groups of employees to lead projects as a sort of de facto startup, freed from the heavy procedures that large companies tend to accumulate. This allows them to develop much faster. [Note, see the Wikipedia article on intrapreneurship here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intrapreneurship].
For the last two years, we have been putting this into practice within Diana. It has allowed us to identify innovation topics internally much faster than using the usual methods for large companies.
Since these working groups function like startups, their needs are similar to those of entrepreneurs. One of our aims with our partnership with AcceleRise - in addition to opening us up to a new external network - is to draw on AcceleRise's knowledge base and experience to give our intrapreneurial projects a boost. Our employees' creativity can thus be effectively harnessed into agile innovation.

By Christophe Breuillet

Managing director of Vitagora and AcceleRise, Christophe is the big boss! His various areas of expertise cover innovation and food business development, internationalisation and influence strategies… basically Food “Business” with a capital B! You can contact him at: christophe.breuillet@vitagora.com