Marketing Faculty at Bainbridge Graduate Institute
Georgia State’s J. Mack Robinson School of Business
U.J. often speaks at exciting events and conferences around the world about transformative innovation. If you’d like him to speak at your conference, please contact us.
Georgia Center for Nonprofits (Board Member)
One Love Learning Foundation (Board Member)
About Udaiyan Jatar
“When you look at yourself from a universal standpoint, something inside always reminds or informs you that there are bigger and better things to worry about.”
– Albert Einstein
Udaiyan Jatar (U.J.) is the CEO of Blue Earth Network, a fully integrated Transformation Agency created with the True Purpose© of unleashing the full potential of change-makers to transform businesses, society and the planet. Blue Earth Network works with change-makers in organizations ranging from Fortune 100s to Start-Ups, Nonprofits and Government.
U.J. has led global businesses like the $400 million joint venture between Coca-Cola and Nestle and launched many products across 6 continents. His innovation career spans 20 years in companies like Coca-Cola, P&G and Grey where he led the launches of numerous global brands. He teaches at BGI and co-leads the pioneering Certified Professional Innovator program at GSU’s Robinson College. He serves on various boards including the Georgia Center for Nonprofits.
The Journey to Blue Earth Network
My career in new product development began on the streets of India in 1988, trying to convince skeptical housewives to buy expensive new multinational products that were flooding into India. As I rode my woefully underpowered moped around the city, earning less than a dollar a day, I learned priceless lessons about how us humans assign value to products, services and brands in the context of our broader lives.
I continued on a path of creating, launching, and promoting new brands across six continents over the next 20 years, working for companies like Coca-Cola, P&G and Grey advertising. The Blue Earth Network is a direct outcome of the surprising lessons I learned along that global journey, about innovation, and about life in general.
I have had the good fortune to work across many categories and be involved in launching or re-launching global brands all over the world; brands like Pantene, Vicks, Sprite, Powerade, Limca, Nestea, Honda etc. This involved creating many new products and ensuring their relevance to cultures from Argentina to Norway and Egypt to Japan. Significantly, the greatest ideas always had universal appeal even if they were originally designed for local markets.
Global Innovation & Marketing
At Coca-Cola, I was accountable for building and managing new brands and businesses in the coffee and tea category as a Global Vice President for innovation at The Coca-Cola Company. I also managed the $450m global joint venture between Nestle and Coca-Cola in the late 90s.
A Fork In the Road…
As a 31 year old, successfully leading a high profile global joint venture, I should have been happy. I was not. The trappings of success weren’t very fulfilling.
But, even business success itself needed to be redefined. In spite of having trained and succeeded at arguably the greatest marketing companies on the planet, I had achieved nothing compared to the creators of the world’s greatest transcendent brands – Nike, Coca-Cola, Apple, Starbucks etc. In fact, none of my colleagues had done better either.
I discovered that small entrepreneurs, not elite marketing companies, had created all these transcendent brands. I set out to investigate how and why. I asked to be transferred from the Coke-Nestle JV to an innovation group at Coke.
Other strange insights were to follow.
On leaving the Coca-Cola Nestle joint venture, I studied how small entrepreneurs had created globally transcendent brands, and discovered that ordinary companies have a fundamentally flawed mental model of innovation and branding that handicaps them severely. In an effort to reduce risk and maximize quick returns, innovation processes, paradoxically, take too long, cost too much money and result in weaker growth at lower margins! A new approach to Market Transformation, that I now call “Seven Disciplines of Transcendent Organizations”, began to evolve in my mind.
In the summer of 2001, I was tasked with leading Coca-Cola’s entry into the world’s largest beverage category: fresh brewed coffee and tea. This was an opportunity to develop and refine my theories on “Transcendent Organizations”. The result? Over the next 7 years my small team created a highly disruptive technology with several patents that helped Coca-Cola enter a huge new category, and compete effectively against tea and coffee giants in foodservice. The brand, Far Coast, was launched in Singapore, Canada, and Norway in 2006. Far Coast got a global stage as the official brewed beverage provider of the Vancouver Olympics in 2010. However, trying to launch a transformational new brand using systems and rules designed to maintain legacy businesses proved to be the undoing of Far Coast. Priceless lessons were learned along that journey.
Innovation, Sustainability, & Higher Purpose
As I got involved in the coffee business, the issues surrounding the ethics and equitability of coffee sourcing became an important issue for me. The launch of a new brand presented me with an unique opportunity to create an ethical business. Thus, when we created the Far Coast business, it became what is probably the first and perhaps only brand launched by a Fortune 100 company to have 100% of its blends independently certified by Fair Trade and/or Rainforest Alliance. And it is also a carbon neutral business.
Energized by the potential of this new innovation model to create transformational value from a social, environmental and economic perspective, I felt I had found my calling. I left Coca-Cola and founded the Blue Earth Network.