From Big Brands to Startups: How Michael Lyons is Pioneering Innovation in the CPG Space

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Meeting Unmet Consumer Needs
  3. Adapting Legacy Products
  4. Leveraging Technology in Public Health
  5. The Startup Experience: Agility and Risk-Taking
  6. Understanding the CPG Innovation Landscape
  7. Conclusion


Have you ever wondered what drives the transformation of consumer goods from traditional offerings to innovative products that meet the evolving needs of today’s market? In an enlightening episode of CPG Launch Leaders, Michael Lyons, CEO of Applied Silver and a former executive at giant corporations like Henkel and Procter & Gamble, shares his profound journey and insights into the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry. His story not only captivates but fills the gap between large-scale operations and the agility of startups, bringing to light the pivotal role of understanding consumer needs on a deeper level. This post aims to unravel Michael Lyons's experiences and innovations in the CPG space, offering valuable lessons on adapting to changing consumer behaviors, the potential of technology to improve lives, and the significance of agility and risk-taking in product development and launch.

Meeting Unmet Consumer Needs

At the core of Michael Lyons's philosophy lies the identification and fulfillment of unmet consumer needs. His transition from positions at large corporations to heading a startup stems from a keen observation: the definition of an unmet need has significantly evolved from being purely functional to deeply personal and intimate. This shift underscores the importance of engaging with consumers more closely, understanding their desires and behaviors, and consequently, creating products that resonate on a personal level.

Adapting Legacy Products

The fascinating journey of transforming baseball cards serves as a testament to Lyons's ability to rejuvenate traditional products for the modern consumer. By revisiting his childhood passion through his son’s interest, Lyons insights into the importance of modernizing legacy items without stripping away their nostalgic essence. In the era of digital and social media, the reincarnation of baseball cards into a treasure hunt-like experience illustrates the potential in reviving classic products by aligning them with contemporary trends and technologies.

Leveraging Technology in Public Health

Applied Silver, under Michael Lyon's leadership, exemplifies the transformative power of leveraging technology for societal benefits. The company's mission to combat hospital-associated infections through silver ion technology in textiles showcases an innovative approach to addressing public health challenges. This initiative not only demonstrates the potential for technology to make significant impacts on health and safety but also emphasizes the importance of creating products that fulfill profound human needs.

The Startup Experience: Agility and Risk-Taking

Transitioning from a large corporation to a startup environment, Lyons shares candid insights into the challenges and rewards that accompany such a move. The essence of his experience highlights the importance of agility, quick decision-making, and the willingness to take calculated risks. Applied Silver’s journey emphasizes the startup advantage of moving swiftly and adapting strategies based on direct consumer feedback and market demands.

Understanding the CPG Innovation Landscape

Listeners and readers alike can draw inspiration from Michael Lyons’s journey through the complexities of innovating within the CPG sector. His insights offer a comprehensive understanding of essential factors contributing to successful product launches, including meeting changing consumer needs, balancing heritage with innovation, and leveraging technology for societal good.

By emphasizing the critical importance of agility and a consumer-centric approach, regardless of company size, Lyons provides invaluable advice to both budding entrepreneurs and established CPG professionals. His experiences underscore the necessity of continuous learning, adapting, and evolving strategies to meet the ever-changing landscape of consumer preferences and market dynamics.


Michael Lyons's journey from big-brand executive to startup innovator offers a unique perspective on driving change in the CPG industry. His story teaches us the value of understanding and adapting to consumer needs, leveraging technology for positive impacts, and the critical role of agility and risk-taking in realizing innovation. For those looking to make their mark in the CPG space, Lyons’s insights serve as a blueprint for combining passion with purpose, heritage with innovation, and ideas with execution to create products that not only meet but anticipate and shape consumer desires.

As we navigate the ongoing evolution of consumer preferences and technological advancements, the lessons from leaders like Michael Lyons will continue to inspire and guide future generations of CPG innovators. By embracing change, prioritizing consumer insights, and fostering an environment of agility and innovation, the potential for success in the fast-paced world of consumer goods is boundless.

Remember, the CPG landscape is not just about creating products; it's about fostering connections, addressing real-life problems, and transforming lives through innovation. Are you ready to embark on your innovation journey?


  • What are unmet consumer needs in the CPG industry? Unmet consumer needs refer to desires or requirements of consumers that are not adequately addressed by current products in the market. These can range from functional needs, such as effectiveness and convenience, to emotional and personal needs, like sustainability and personalization.

  • How can startups compete with large CPG companies? Startups can leverage agility, innovation, and a deep understanding of niche consumer needs to create unique value propositions. By focusing on direct consumer engagement, utilizing digital marketing strategies, and adapting quickly to feedback, startups can carve out a competitive edge.

  • What role does technology play in the CPG industry? Technology plays a crucial role in product innovation, supply chain optimization, consumer engagement, and data analytics. It enables companies to create more effective and personalized products, streamline operations, and better understand consumer behavior and preferences.

  • How can companies successfully rejuvenate legacy products? Companies can rejuvenate legacy products by aligning them with current consumer trends, incorporating modern technologies, and reimagining them to meet contemporary needs. Engaging with consumers to understand their connections and memories with legacy products can also provide valuable insights for revitalization efforts.

  • What is the significance of consumer-centric approaches in product development? A consumer-centric approach emphasizes understanding and prioritizing the needs, preferences, and behaviors of consumers in product development. It ensures that products are designed to meet real consumer needs, leading to higher satisfaction, loyalty, and success in the market.