“Innovation” is a word that’s thrown around an awful lot in the technology world, and food tech is no exception. But creating actual innovation — that is, solving a problem in a new way — is really, really hard. And it usually requires a lot of failure.

Which is why Arvind de Menezes Pereira, CTO of automated systems company Markov, started off his solo talk at the 2018 Smart Kitchen Summit with videos of SpaceX’s test rockets exploding, one after another. “Most of us would see a failure like this which is so expensive and think: there’s no point doing this,” he said. But SpaceX kept chugging along and, eventually, they were able to land a rocket on a target in the middle of the ocean.

Though they weren’t dealing with space rockets, that sort of persistence came in handy when the Markov team began developing the LEVEL: a device that could cook fast like a microwave, precisely like a sous vide, and prepare multiple food items simultaneously. “We didn’t know [it] was possible in the beginning,” said Pereira. “But we decided to do it anyway.”

Cut to many destroyed egg whites later (“cheaper than rockets,” Pereira joked), and the Markov team had their SpaceX moment. Check out his full talk to hear how he identifies and tackles grand challenges in the smart kitchen (don’t worry, there’s a handy food-related acronym in case you forget).

Watch the full video below.

Look out for more videos of the panels, solo talks, and fireside chats from SKS 2018! We’ll be bringing them to you hot and fresh out the (smart) kitchen over the next few weeks.

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