PDMA Chicago Presents Speaker Bennett Brenton on “How To Win at Innovation by Leveraging Empathy and Insights to Identify Opportunities”

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How to Win at Innovation by Leveraging Empathy and Insights to identify Opportunities

Tuesday, February 10

Networking, Presentation and Discussion

Bennett L Brenton, PhD, Chief Innovation Officer and Vice President of Innovation, Snap-on Inc.

This talk will provide an overview of the top processes and people skills that drive successful innovation. Presented in a top-ten format, a brief description of each process or trait will be provided followed by a short narrative of a case study that exemplifies the characteristic. Although described as the battle between rigorous process and people skills, the discussion will focus on how the two must act in synergy to win at innovation. The case studies will be a mixture of winning and losing ideas, demonstrating what went right and what went wrong. These examples will be pulled from real projects that Ben worked on. There will be ample time to discuss and debate during and after the presentation.

 Key Take Aways:

  • A bit about Snap-on Inc.
  • Some differences between the world of Consumer Products and Industrial/Durable Goods
  • The role of empathy in gaining insight and driving innovation
  • The importance of having an innovation process and assembling the right team to innovate
  • How to sustain an innovative team

Target Audience
Marketing, Engineering and Technology Executives, Program Managers, Product Developers (S/W and H/W), Product Managers, Marketing Managers, Marketing Communications Professionals, etc.


  • 5:30-6:30pm – Social and Networking (heavy appetizers, wine and craft beers)
  • 6:30-8:30pm – Speaker, Discussion, Q&A
  • 8:30-9:00pm – Wrap-up and Networking

Motorala Mobility
Merchandise Mart
Chicago, IL 60654


  • Early registration discount ends Sunday, February 8.
  • PDMA members pricing: enter pdmachicagomember
  • PDMA members special: bring guests for free

About the Speaker

Bennett Brenton joined Snap-on Incorporated as Chief Innovation Officer and Vice President of Innovation in February 2007. Snap-on is a leading global innovator, manufacturer and marketer of tools, diagnostics and equipment solutions for professional users. Ben’s role is to drive innovative products, solutions and processes that fundamentally change the markets Snap-on serves and enhance customer perception of its brands. Ben has helped to create, support and institutionalize a culture at Snap-on that embraces creativity, risk, change and fearless innovation. In early 2009 Ben launched Innovation Works!–a physical center for innovation at Snap-on’s office in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

 Prior to joining Snap-on, Ben spent 4 years in Marketing at PepsiCo, most recently as the Director of Innovation for the Frito-Lay Convenience Foods division. At PepsiCo he also led innovation as Director of Innovation for Tropicana and prior to that as Director of Innovation for Shelf Stable Beverages. Before joining PepsiCo, Ben was Marketing Director of New Products at Kraft Foods. He spent over 14 years at Kraft Foods, starting as a Research Scientist in Biotechnology and working in various roles with increasing responsibility and scope across R&D and Marketing. Ben has over 20 years of experience focused on new product development, marketing and innovation.

Ben holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology, a Master’s degree in Microbial Genetics from the University of Nebraska, and a Ph.D, in Food Science and Nutrition with an emphasis in Molecular Genetics from the University of Massachusetts. He is an active runner, cyclist and triathlete.

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