The Cake Pop is the Essence of Innovation


Innovation Insights

One of a series by Ken Tencer, Spyder Works CEO

Some say that successful innovations “mask the complexity behind them”. I put it a bit differently – I believe that successful innovations harness the obvious. One of the great examples of this is the cake pop. These deceptively simple desserts –  frosted balls of cake on a lollipop stick – reflect everything that is right about innovation. It’s a bold new use for a traditional product that opens up huge opportunities for creativity and new sales venues, while reflecting a societal shift to healthier lifestyles (smaller portions), more frugal indulgences, and ease of access for people on the go (look ma, no fork!).

Let me say that again: cake pops didn’t come out of nowhere. Invented by blogger/baker Angie “Bakerella” Dudley in early 2008, they took off a month later when Martha Stewart invited Dudley to make cake pops on her TV show. But cake pops succeeded because they addressed changes in societal norms and consumer behavior.  They also met one other need: they brought a rare and fun originality to the baking and catering industries. Covered with sprinkles or styled to resemble mini ice-cream cones, cupcakes, Christmas trees and even flowers, cake pops can now be found at birthday parties (where they leave much less mess behind than slices of cake), weddings, corporate events and family dinners – anyplace where gracious hosts and hostesses are always competing to serve the newest of the new.

Understanding consumer needs and capitalizing on market shifts represent the essence of innovation. It’s bringing new things to market to continuously re-engage your customers and meet their changing needs. Surprise your customers, delight them and solve their problems, and watch your sales pop.


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