Brewbound Podcast S2 E2: pH Experiment Co-Founders Karmen Olson and Thomas Bleigh on Innovation, Failure and Success

pH Experiment co-founders Karmen Olson and Thomas Bleigh have a license to fail. Of course, that’s not their objective — not with Craft Brew Alliance’s stated goal of generating $25 million in revenue by 2025 from its innovation arm.

But if they do fail, the goal is to fail fast, learn from it and push forward.

The clearest example of that was the pH Experiment’s clear IPA — which wasn’t clear. The beer proved to be a “pressure test” on the feedback the division’s leaders expect to get from their consumer focus group members, who resoundingly replied that the beer was a dud.

For Olson and Bleigh, that’s the kind of feedback they desire, not a “promissory note on kindness.” The duo want their focus group members, who they call co-creators, to go on the ride of winning and losing with them.

According to Olson, it’s part of the pH Experiment’s mission to be “comfortable being uncomfortable.”

Bleigh added that if the division is truly going to cause a paradigm shift in the industry, then it has to “play in the margins.”

In Episode 2 of the Brewbound Podcast’s second season, Olson and Bleigh discuss the pH Experiment’s holistic approach to innovation with Brewbound editor Justin Kendall, who last month visited pH’s Portland, Oregon headquarters — located inside the former Widmer Brothers pub space.

Listen to Episode 2 above, as well as on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify, and Soundcloud. New episodes of the Brewbound Podcast are published Thursdays.

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