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I’m the first to admit that the biz jargon in Harvard Business Review is not intended for me, my knowledge of corporate operations being limited to sitcom tropes and the plot of Richie Rich. But this rousing recap of a presentation by Patrick O’Riordan, global director of innovation at Anheuser-Busch InBev, just sucked all the beer-loving fun right out of me. I can’t tell if he’s describing a brewery or selling me self-help audiotapes:

Have a clear but robust innovation process. AB InBev breaks innovation into a front-end process — which involves consumer discovery work, idea formulation, idea qualification, and so on — and a back-end process. The front-end process doesn’t have fixed stage gates given its “fuzzy” and iterative nature. The back-end process is, appropriately, more rigid.

Mmm, mmm…who’s thirsty now? I could sure go for a clear, robust glass of beer-flavored water.