February 7, 2014

How Does The Currency Of Innovation Drive Business Growth?

Innovation, Digital

Last time up in the Brand Box series we looked at insight and segmentation tools you can use to help you identify and connect with your customers.

This time we are going to discuss the currency of innovation and how it is used to drive business growth.

Innovation context

Actions From Insights

Why Innovation

Woody Allen said, “Relationships are like sharks, if they stop moving forward they die”, and brands are no different.

Most CEOs will tell you how critical innovation is to their business, yet if you ask them how their innovation plan is looking you’ll tend to get a blank look.

Here we look at at how things are shaping and moving; and if you conducted any of the trends exercises from some of our previous Brand Box "knowing your market and knowing your consumers" posts, you’ll note how scary the rate of change truly is.

If you want to be a growing brand then best practice probably isn’t going to be enough... you’ve got to start thinking about next practice and where you need to be to position yourself for success. The next section will help get you thinking

“Relationships are like sharks, if they stop moving forward they die” ... and brands are no different.

“We always overestimate what will change in the next 2 years, and underestimate what will change in the next 10.” Bill Gates

Bill Gates

Corporate and Social Responsibility

Corporate And Social Responsibility

Corporate responsibility is shrouded with cynicism. The default starting position should be: “don’t do bad, before you do good”.

Currently, the bigger the company, the larger the responsibility is becoming for them to “give back”.

The thing to remember is that corporate responsibility is “extra credit” available only once the consumer is satisfied with the quality of the product/service (and treatment of staff).So what constitutes being “responsible” these days? A couple of very topical areas are:

  • The environmentThis is seen as the ultimate social cause, and visibility around taking affirmative action is highly praised
  • “Australian made”Despite being around for a while, this still has kudos, especially around food.

It is no longer a case of asking if you should be involved in this area; consumers are already committed to corporate and social responsibility, they are now looking for the easy way to contribute. Staff are also becoming increasingly important as an access point to educate and involve corporations in social responsibility initiatives.

At the core of the issue is trust; the beneficiaries vs. the benefactors should be telling the story.

Successful Innovation

Innovation is usually a direct result of one of the following triggers:

  • Pressing issues driving necessity
  • A new, unique perspective on something
  • Innuences, internally and externally
  • Development of a contemplative environment

Social Responsibility

The Power of Context

What alumni are saying to us is: “Tell me something that I didn’t know I needed to know. Challenge me. Astonish me.” If the session is led by a well-known professor, they do not want well-polished presentations based on his well-polished theories. They want him to explore dangerous territory and ideas on the cutting edge, where they can make their own contribution to emerging concepts and be present while they emerge.

Purpose of Creativity

The overall purpose of creativity is to change ideas or produce additional new ones.

Purpose Of Creativity

These two processes are often mixed up together, but they can be separated out as follows:

  1. Escape from old ideas
  2. Generation of new ideas

Importance of Innovation

Where are we now?

Importance Of Innovation

The more innovative the product or category, the higher the level of engagement seems to be.

The Experience Age is being driven by brands responding to consumers’ needs for richer and more engaging experiences around their products and services.

Company Brands

Innovation Driving Growth

To drive growth, innovation is required; and what is the currency of innovation? Ideas.You need to plan your communications by looking at where innovation will add the most value.

Driving Growth

Applied Innovation

How can it be done?

Thinking Cap

New products

  • Extensions and variations
  • Consumer “need” satisfaction and problem solving
  • New experiences

New communication opportunities

  • Positioning for growth or share
  • Methods
  • Mediums
  • Integrations

New ways of doing things

  • Moving from best practice to next practice
  • Application of parallel sector thinking

Limitations of Accepting Status Quo

Accepting the status quo is simply a form of arrogance centred around one of three beliefs:

  • That there are no alternatives -There is only one possible way to look at things and everything is dismissed as being wrong.
  • That no change is required -A particular idea is so perfect that it is beyond change or improvement.
  • That there is no escape -The idea is so absolutely right that everyone must work their way towards it.

Edward de Bono

Accepting Status Quo

Knowledge vs. Creativity

This graph shows the relationship between knowledge and creativity.

Knowledge -creativity

Knowledge is not creativity, but within any particular field it is difficult to come up with new ideas unless you have some ideas to play around with in the first place. At the beginning of idea generation, the more knowledge you have leads to increased creativity.

On the other hand, too much experience within a field may restrict creativity because you know so well how things should be done that you are unable to escape to come up with new ideas. As knowledge grows high we see that creativity dwindles.

de Bono study 1969 - 1971

Innovation as a Habit

Innovation Habit

The best way to grow and innovate is to embed innovation as a habit within your business. This often sounds easier than it is, but it can be helped by the steps below:

Stimulate - Constantly source new stimulus

Practise - Regularly brainstorm, problem solve and stretch your mind

Freedom - Keep free time and keep yourself free of excuses

Constantly Innovate - Not imitate

Best Practice

5 Roles in Ideas Development

Ideas Development

The Triangle for Successful Innovation

Triangle Successful Innovation

Successful Innovation, The Economist, Michel Syrett 2002

Sources of Inspiration

Source Of Inspiration

The results of a survey below show what inspires senior managers (% of respondents)

Inspiration Survey

The results? Over 90% of the managers interviewed say that their ideas initially occur away from the workplace and are later aired and shaped during office hours.

Creative breakthroughs generally occur when individuals make a connection between two previously unrelated concepts, facts or insights.

Source:Roffey Park Institute 1998

In our next post we are going to look at some of the big brands and how they are leveraging crowd sourcing to improve their business.

Look forward to seeing you then.

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