Many consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies think of innovation as a change in the shape or design of their packaging or new formulations. Gatorade has reinvigorated their brand with the introduction of the smart sports bottle. The company had been steadily losing market share to new competitors such as VitaminWater, Red Bull and Monster for many years. In response to this market pressure, SVP Brett O'Brien built an internal innovation team to first focus on understanding the needs of their primary users (athletes). O'Brien notes: "It’s not just about capturing a bigger part of a marketplace, it’s about filling a void for your consumer..." Empathic research inspired the team to develop the high-tech bottle cap that allows athletes the ability to measure and track their individual activity levels and to refuel and rehydrate accordingly. This innovation in personalization and customization creates the potential for an entirely new nutritional platform that includes physical devices as well as a line of drink formulations and food products. High-five to the innovation team at Gatorade and Smart Design! 

Check out the article in February 2016 issue of Fast Company. Product rendering by Alex Wastney.