A lot of what I do nowadays is innovation.
An overgrown copywriter turns into a creative director and an overgrown creative director sometimes turns in to a businessperson.
Regressive, some may say!
However in my view it's fascinating to apply creative thinking to business and industry-wide problems. As with everything, I've probably learned the most from the bits I've got wrong.
Ground your divergent thinking in real problems.
The same divergence that helps a concept team succeed can help a business increase efficiency and diversify their products. But only if that divergent thinking is then refined -- and applied directly to a genuine problem. Ideally, a genuine problem people would like to pay you to solve.
Deliver and measure like you would a live client project.
Innovation isn't just about reading creative blogs, mixing up products, blue sky days, and covering all your flat surfaces with sticky notes -- although those things are a fun starting point. Landing the benefits of an innovation lab means using structure and processes. You have to be determined not just to experiment but to define the outcome, and show discipline, intent, deadlines and accountability.
And most importantly: measurement.
Celebrate and share your outputs.
The sustainability and success of your innovation lab depends on being able to signpost and report on the successes that it has produced: increased revenue, more business leads, more awards -- whichever KPIs your business finds most meaningful.
Sharing your success through a good internal PR machine will mean that you continue to gain buy-in for your innovation work to continue.
Now, looking for ideas is not a bad thing, but looking for ideas is different than translating ideas into new products or services. Ideation does not equal innovation. Innovation management is a process that transforms ideas into a profitable portfolio of projects and services. Innovation means capturing value on the back end -- that´s what makes it a business. Value is exchanged in an infinite loop that digitally connects Products, Services, and Things with Customers, Employees, and Partners -- all multiplied through networks. In the “Relationship Economy” today, companies need to deliver ongoing value, memorable experiences, on-demand fulfillment, and personalized services. New products and services need to be developed with this paradigm in mind.