Disrupt: Our people creating our future


We live in a world of unlimited possibilities – for people, our business, and our country. But this world of change is a challenge too.

We all saw what happened to video stores. One word. Netflix. Previously a one-stop shop for your Wednesday night entertainment, they’re now a warning to businesses everywhere: disrupt or be disrupted. 

Change is occurring at an exponential pace. We can’t rely on the past to predict the future anymore. Companies that don’t evolve, simply don’t survive. The lifespan of companies listed on Standard & Poor's 500 used to be 33 years. Now every two weeks, companies disappear.

We don’t need to be able to predict the next big technology – we need to be ready to adapt to it. Rather than be disrupted, Fonterra has chosen to lead and disrupt.

One of the ways we’re doing this is by investing in the growth of our people through ‘Disrupt’ – our award-winning entrepreneur programme set up to leverage the diversity and talent of our employees to help drive innovation.

Disrupt provides a way for our 22,000 employees from across 30 markets to generate business ideas, develop them in an incubator, pitch for Fonterra investment and potentially land a new day job bringing their concept to life.

Over the last three years, we’ve taken Disrupt from a pilot to a global model that now has a proven track-record of delivering value back to our Co-op.

Disrupt is helping us crowdsource outstanding ideas. It’s also helping more voices to be heard. More than 1500 Fonterra employees have participated in Disrupt from 16 countries around the world. They came from 27 nationalities and spoke eight different languages. Employees have been aged between 21 and 60 years.

Better still, employees have come from all over our business. From people within months of starting with us to long-term employees. We’ve had accountants, technicians, supply chain specialists. You name it we’ve had it.

It’s all about the quality of ideas – not where they come from, what level they’re at or what job they do.

Fonterra was recognised at last year’s Deloitte Top 200 Awards, winning the Diversity and Inclusion Award for our Disrupt programme.

When we embrace different perspectives, businesses are more innovative, make better decisions, and improve performance.

We’re really proud of Disrupt. It’s allowed a business like ours to embrace disruption and crowdsource talent and ideas.

Disrupt 10-Day Business Challenge