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Introducing SousZen

See how Xinova partners with PepsiCo and Innit to launch the new Seattle restaurant tech startup, SousZen, that aims to digitize ‘back of house’.

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Innovation Opportunities

Seeking innovative solutions for:

The Crucible – Solve for X

October 2019

That’s really the difference between an innovator and an engineer: an engineer needs specifications. An innovator just needs a problem.”

-Kate Stephenson, PhD 
Xinova Innovator and Founder of Dyad Engineering

In North America, Halloween has crept upon us. Like many, I am thinking about ghosts and haunted houses. But not why you’d think. We have ghosts in the Xinova network: innovators who haven’t fully entered their experience and thus don’t completely exist on the platform. Platform ghosts distort the network’s metrics, creating a fun-house effect. No trick: it’d be a real treat if all ghosts added their information. Take a look at and you’ll see this information aggregated: are you represented?
I’m thinking about packaging, too. It’s scary-effective how all those bite-sized, spooky Halloween candy wrappers transform the common experience of eating sweets into a specific holiday ritual. We have packaging opportunities coming in the pipeline so beware of those new opportunities coming to you soon!
This month, we’re thrilled to announce that we’ve spun out SousZen, a first-of-its-kind connected-kitchen platform that turns participating restaurants into sensors across a network to share and predict food trends, and to drive growth opportunities. It’s scary how closely this venture aligns with everything Xinova stands for, and it all started with the “Low-Cost Snack Appliances” RFI. And Speaking of putting innovation on the menu: Xinova Director of Innovation Services Group, Nick Milanovich, PhD wrote outstanding pieces on expanding the menu of innovation options, and advancing tech projects internally by pitching ideas like entrepreneurs instead of scientists.
And if you’re looking for costume ideas, product design Jedi Master, Kate Stephenson, PhD might suggest strapping on a lightsaber in advance of the final installment of the latest Star Wars trilogy in December. But read the network innovator’s profile to learn why women are Jedis, who don’t use pink lightsabers.

Brad Roberts
Global Head of Network Platform

Featured Opportunities

Eco-Innovation Insights - Write for XinovaEco-Innovation Insights

We’re looking for an article that explores trends in eco-innovation and how leadership can tap into the surprising value of sustainable practices.

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Seeking Candidates for Usability Testing

Xinova is seeking candidates interested in helping us test the usability of our platform. Usability testing helps us improve the platform and build better tools for people like you

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Golden Innovation Metrics

Ready to write a smart and engaging article about R&D leadership’s glaring need for innovation metrics? You’ll be paid $1-per-word to do so on Write an op-ed-style piece explaining what a golden innovation metric (or metrics) may look like and how they’ll advance technology.

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Xinova Updates


Like a digital sous chef, SousZen is the first cloud platform that manages the commercial food preparation process from inventory to cooked mealXinova spins out SousZen

The world’s first network of connected smart kitchens was officially announced in October to create new growth opportunities for restaurant chains and entrepreneurs seeking an edge on predicting food trends while minimizing operational costs and maximizing meal quality and consistency.  Like a digital Sous Chef, SousZen is positioned to automate kitchen management and act as the ubiquitous control layer over the connected appliances increasingly entering commercial kitchens.

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honey they shrunk the rd departmentHoney, they shrunk the R&D department. Now what?

External innovation partners can build up your project portfolio, amplify your R&D capabilities, and increase your odds of project success even when resources are tight.

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so what_ now what_ art of communicating scienceSo what? Now what? The art of communicating science

R&D stars pitch ideas with sex appeal. They story-tell like an entrepreneur would to a VC; and they look at their project like a startup, not a science project.

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Featured Innovator

Jedi medical device product design:
Lightsabers don’t come in pink

Last month, Dr. Stephenson explained why product design must embrace 3D printing and how companies can adopt it to create value. This month, learn how the Jiu-Jitsu black belt and Jedi Master in strategic product design advises companies to nurture diversity and bring in innovation Jedis and jesters who’ll eliminate bad ideas, like “shrink it and pink it,” and build time travel into innovation strategy.

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Xinova in the news

Geekwire “PepsiCo and Xinova behind new Seattle restaurant tech startup that aims to digitize ‘back of house'” 

“The new Seattle startup recently came out of stealth mode and revealed its plans to automate the commercial kitchen. The company originally began as a research project inside Xinova… Food and beverage giant PepsiCo wanted to find a way to expand its reach into new markets and partnered with Xinova and Silicon Valley startup Innit on an idea to build kitchen software for restaurants.”

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We are always seeking new problems to solve, as well as innovators and entrepreneurs to help us solve them. Let’s work together to create the future.

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