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27. Maria Mujica

Latin American marketing director, gums and candy, Mondelēz International

27. Maria Mujica

The Party Starter

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“When the leader is open and uncomfortable, that’s a big opener of possibilities,” says Maria Mujica, who puts her philosophy into practice with FlyGarage, the Buenos Aires, Argentina–based innovation incubator that she runs within Mondelēz (the cookie and candy brand that Kraft spun off last year). Mujica mashes up staffers with outsiders such as artists and academics, often from more than a dozen countries, for two-week brainstorming sessions. “It’s like creating a party,” she says. The resulting promotional campaign ideas need to fit on a T-shirt–short, provocative manifestos, for example.

Last year’s Trident-sponsored outdoor concert in Buenos Aires, called Random Music Fest, replicated the spontaneity of how people listen to their digital music on shuffle–the event did not have a schedule for the bands slated to appear across four stages. “We had 9,000 people running around, not knowing what was going to happen next,” Mujica says with glee, “although we created an app to let them vote on what the last song would be.”

[Image courtesy of Mondelez International]

About the author

Jeff Chu writes on international affairs, social issues, and design for Fast Company. His first book, Does Jesus Really Love Me?: A Gay Christian's Pilgrimage in Search of God in America, was published by HarperCollins in April 2013.

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