Now you might be asking yourself…
What do Cookies ‘n’ Cream Oreos and chicken feet have in common?
In short, both cookies ‘n’ cream and chicken feet involve valuable delicacies that that come from what people previously thought of as waste products from the production of something that was seen as more valuable.
In the United States chicken feet used to be thought of as something that (A) we don’t eat and (B) that American chicken ranchers used to throw away. But in Asia they are a delicacy in several countries, and according to Wikipedia chicken feet sell for more money per kilogram than the chicken breast (the part here in the United States that we think of as the most valuable).
Meanwhile, Cookies ‘n’ Cream ice cream and now Cookies ‘n’ Cream Oreos are now both great ways for Nabisco to take sub par Oreo cookie wafers that might otherwise be thrown away and instead turn them into a valuable product.
In the same way, old fryer oil from places like KFC and McDonald’s used to cost restaurants money to dispose of and now with the demand for BioDiesel, these restaurants can now instead sell their old oil to third parties instead of paying someone to take it away!
So, you have to ask yourself as part of your innovation efforts, are there any waste products or outputs that we don’t think of as valuable that could be turned into something else valuable or that might have value to someone else?