An Interview with Joy Bergmann of Fahrenheit 212

I  recently had a comment on my website from the people at Fahrenheit 212. They are a company that offers firms a means of coming up with innovative ideas for their markets. Since I think business models that successfully turn ideas into more than just ideas, I asked Joy Bergmann to do an email interview with me and she agreed. Here is our exchange:

1) What is Fahrenheit 212 all about?
At Fahrenheit 212, we’re all about bigger ideas, faster to market.

Fahrenheit 212 is an innovation consultancy that helps major companies to define strategic growth opportunities, to create and develop new products/businesses and to commercialize those ideas in the marketplace.
We’re leaders in the “outsourcing of innovation.” We bring fresh,“outsider” perspectives to our clients’ toughest growth challenges.More importantly, we don’t just weigh in with strategies. We create a fully dimensional portfolio of big, doable, fast-to-market ideas that deliver top-line growth.

2) What range of client size do you serve?
Fahrenheit 212 works with Fortune 500 global companies in every sector. Our clients include Capital One, Starwood, Coca-Cola, Samsung, Nestle,Gucci Group, Fonterra, and adidas to name a few.

3) Is it true that Fahrenheit 212 co-invests in the solutions they offer? If yes, how does this work?
We’re an outcomes-driven business. Rather than get paid for time on task, we deploy a performance-based business model.  
Two-thirds of our potential fees are contingent on hitting agreed project milestones. This frames every engagement as a genuine commercial partnership where we all have skin in the game. Clients love that we are incented to deliver “ideas on the money.” And do so!

4) What would you say is the biggest success of the company?
That’s like choosing your favorite child! We have dozens of ideas either in market or on the path to market.
One recent success – our Samsung LCD innovation project. Samsung came to Fahrenheit 212 looking to unlock new markets for its LCD screens –markets capable of moving 600,000 additional screens [over 10”] annually.  We delivered a portfolio of 10 big, doable ideas; each oneoffering that level of opportunity.
Two of these ideas are now in market:  Samsung ID [an interlocking display system transformingthe trade show and retailing industries] and Samsung uVending[revolutionizing the vending machine sector through networked,multimedia technology.]
We’re now working with Samsung on other initiatives. Very exciting!
5) During tough economic times, how do you communicate your business proposition to potential clients?
We believe in innovating for the recession. We’re advising clients that they have an opportunity to‘win against the hill’ during this crisis. While their competitors stay inert, they can race ahead with bigger – if fewer – growth initiatives and come out far ahead of the paralyzed pack.  
We’re especially keen on helping clients unlock new revenue from their EXISTING assets. The Samsung project above is a great example. Samsung already had the LCD infrastructure; Samsung needed fresh ideas on new markets and applications to drive entirely new revenue streams.
We invite you to learn more about “Unlocking Hidden Assets” and“Innovating for a Recession.” Check out these and other thought pieces here:

6) What is the typical time horizon for an engagement?

Our process is structured in four phases – Immersion, Development,Evolution, Actualization. Most engagements typically run five months from kick-off to size-of-prize assessment ­– spanning the first three phases.  Most projects extend into the fourth phase – Actualization –advancing ideas into and through the commercialization process.
7)If Fahrenheit 212 helps other companies be innovative, then you must have some very talented individuals working there. How would you describe them or what characteristics do they have?
The Fahrenheit 212 crew is without question the most remarkable group I’ve ever encountered. Everyone here is witty, well-traveled, energetic,caring and madly CURIOUS.

Lots of companies like to think of their culture as collaborative, but ours is relentlessly so. Teams propel each other to smarter strategies, better ideas and bigger wins.What’s extraordinary is how constructive, fun and supportive the whole vibe is.

We’re also quite diverse. Though a small firm, we hail from five different countries and celebrate our differences. For example, one innovation director was born in Lebanon, raised in France and Canada, studied architecture, has a foodie blog, aspires to be a perfumer and considers a typical morning to include revolutionizing consumer banking, inventing a new cocktail category and designing a necklace. One illustrator is also a licensed massage therapist, a weekend taxidermist and a museum-worthy oil painter. We’re not a dull group!

8) Suppose someone was considering applying for a job at Fahrenheit 212, what advice would you give them?
Showcase your breadth of experiences, your deep intelligence and your vibrant personality. We love individuals who enjoy contributing to a clever group, but don’t fall prey to “group-think.”

It’s a dynamic, exciting business to be in. We encourage you or your readers to contact us to find out more. Thanks, Ben!


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