Innovation and marketing – an important pair

Understanding “innovation” relationships

With so much current interest in innovation, and with there being so many differences of view on what innovation is, one way to organise one’s thinking on the topic is to describe its relationship to other topics.

… with “marketing”!

The relationship between innovation and marketing is a particularly important, and this led to an article on several aspects of that pairing.

Read the full article …

Innovative strategy

While strategy and tactics are important topics, which are frequently confused, the role of innovation provides a key to distinguishing them.

This led to an article, focussed on the innovation aspects of strategy, which is intended to separate the two more clearly by describing their relationship, and putting tactics in their place!

Read the full article …

Innovation does not start with ideas

Innovations might come from ideas, but ideas might not lead to innovations.

Innovations enable us to make small steps, big jumps and giant leaps in the direction that we choose to go. But searching for, and realising, those innovations involves more than searching for, and developing, ideas.

An idea might be a key that fits a lock, that opens a door, on a route, through a barrier to our chosen direction. But in our search for ideas that might be keys, it is useful to know the direction, the barriers, the routes, the doors and the locks.

An idea is not the beginning of the development of an innovation. It is not even the end of the beginning. It might, however, be the beginning of the end.

Innovation happens like fire

Innovation happens automatically, under the right conditions, like fire.

For fire, those conditions are generally: fuel, air supply and heat. Removing any one, prevents it.

For innovation:

  • fuel is something valuable to be done,
  • air supply is the communication of information and ideas,
  • heat is energy, and sparks of enthusiasm and inspiration.

Innovation is prevented by:

  • misunderstanding value,
  • stifling communication,
  • pouring water on sparks.

When none of those are happening, innovation happens … automatically!

Unified communication, this is not!

In this world of increasingly diverse communication, our conversations are becoming scattered across channels.

A few channels in a few minutes

Yesterday, my ex-partner sent me a text (SMS) message which approximated to: “Will you please reply to my email about …?”.

A few minutes later, she sent me another: “Actually, it might have been a voicemail“.

So I telephoned her and said: “Actually, it was a text message!”

Funny, or not?

On one level, we can dismiss this as being part of our funny old world.

But as the number of channels increases, it is not so funny when an important conversation breaks down because messages are being sent and expected on multiple disparate channels.

Innovation is betting: you’ve got to be in it to win it!

Innovation fails

Innovation is not guaranteed to work, if it were then it would not be novel enough to be termed “innovation”. So there is a risk involved. However, presumably, we would like our innovative efforts to work (that is, to pay out) some of the time, otherwise they would not be worth the price.

#c4cc2012 event

During a flow of Twitter messages about an event today (2012.01.24) at the Centre for Creative Collaboration in London, there was an exchange of messages in which Benjamin Ellis (@BenjaminEllis) suggested that paying the price of innovation is the opposite of paying an insurance premium. The message is here. Benjamin called it an innovation premium.

It is a gamble

Well, the opposite of an insurance premium is a bet. The model is the same: you pay a small price, in the expectation of getting a bigger payout if an event occurs. The difference is that: in the case of an insurance premium, you (probably) hope that the event does not happen; whereas, in the case of a bet, you hope that it does.

So it seems that innovation is equivalent to gambling. Of course, one can consider and analyse the various risks involved, and can work to minimise the downside. But in the end, in innovation, as in gambling:

You’ve got to be in it to win it!

We like differently

It is a very simple idea: we like differently. And a wide range of consequences flow from it.

You and I like different things. Also you and I like or dislike the same things for different reasons and to a different extent.

A significant hurdle to understanding this is the difficulty we frequently have in accepting that other people have different perspectives from which they view the same things as we view.

Yet, we know that we all have different experiences and capabilities, and different hopes and fears; so is it a surprise that we have different criteria by which we observe, assess and evaluate anything? This is the basis for variety and diversity. It is also fundamental to trade and commerce; if everyone’s valuation of an item is the same, then there is no basis for trading it.

So if we have any blind spots which hide differences between our valuations, these can have wide ranging consequences for our ability to cooperate and interoperate. They limit our capacity to assist each other and to enable each other to contribute as effectively as we might.

Our existence would be extremely limited if we all liked the same.