A CFO’s Perspective on Innovation

Solutionology Podcast: Episode #17 | 41 min


This episode of the Solutionology podcast is unlike any other we’ve done. Our guest is Todd Buness, the CFO and President of Prinsco, a long standing product development client of DI Labs. In this conversation we do a deep dive into the business and finance side of product innovation from his perspective. It’s a topic that takes us away from the technical details of additive manufacturing and highlights how the benefits of additive support innovation with speed, rapid learning, and flexibility to iterate.

Todd is a great storyteller and shares specific examples of how this has played out in companies he’s worked for such as Cargill, Heraeus, and Prinsco. He describes himself as a “manufacturing guy” and not a typical CFO because of his strategic focus on bringing together the functional units of an organization to drive success. He talks about understanding customer needs, designing the right thing, getting something into customer hands as soon as possible for feedback, getting to market quickly to start a revenue stream and building a partner relationship with clients. It’s a long-term, solutions-based way of thinking that is very aligned with our approach at DI Labs which is why these types of conversations are so much fun for us! Enjoy!


  • 05:02 Introduction
  • 07:42 Bringing together engineering, manufacturing and sales
  • 08:30 Heraeus contract manufacturing approach
  • 10:21 Medical component example
  • 14:18 Not a typical finance guy
  • 15:35 Shifting the customer perspective at Cargill
  • 16:49 First ever customer solutions strategy
  • 18:25 Converting a commodity business into a solution model
  • 19:36 Beer barley examples
  • 22:21 Helping customers shift their thinking
  • 25:57 Story of shifting from commodity vs solution customers
  • 29:53 Scarcity mindset to opportunity mindset
  • 31:55 Enlarging the pie vs getting the lowest price
  • 33:04 Classifying customers to service them correctly
  • 34:19 Challenges of managing a program
  • 37:30 Advice to your younger self
  • 39:46 Getting the commitment to get programs launched