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Ben & Jerry Innovation and Teams
Program length: 2:31

The story of the ice-cream team of Ben Cohen & Jerry Greenfield has so many lessons to it. First and foremost, it’s about looking at an obstacle or failure as an opportunity. There were several points in their lives that Ben & Jerry could have thrown in the towel. They wanted other careers. They wanted a bagel store. They hated big business. They even launched an ice cream empire in Vermont -- one of the coldest states in the Union!

Ben’s so called “weakness” was that he had virtually no sense of smell. Instead of letting that stop them or, worse, creating conflict between them, they laughed and used his deficiency to make a superior product; ice-cream full of chunks and original, strong flavors.

Another important lesson from Ben & Jerry is the concept of caring for one another, their workers and the community while having fun. That connection and friendship made them better able to listen to each other and tackle obstacles and create opportunities together. They broadened their concept of “friendship” to include their staff and the whole state of Vermont. When they went public, original shareholders had to legally reside in the Green Mountain state. The Ben & Jerry’s brand became known for supporting social causes and the environment. And, in the process they created brand identity, loyalty and a thriving business. In 2000, they sold the company to Unilever for over $300 million.

 

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