Accelerating Innovation

Unbound Spiral: Accelerating Brand Innovation

May 6, 2002 10:54 AM

Brand Innovation practices are a core competence for today’s organizations and a key driver for future success. Michael Schrage: “Tomorrow’s innovators will invest more in playing with prototypes, modeling marketplaces, and simulating scenarios because that will become the best way to create new value and profitably deliver it to customers. Innovative models inspire innovative behavior.”

"Unless we change the way we think and what we value, we will just do the old things more effectively in the future…… Is this enough? Will the future ever really be the same?"

Increasingly the connection between “living the brand promise” and connecting with tomorrow’s markets means every employee must learn to live at least 15 minutes ahead of the brand. The traditionally inwardly focused closed organization is dead. Right now organizations must become more externally centric, more connected, and aware of how to remain that step ahead of the customer. This requires new approaches to prospecting and discovery.

Today storytelling, narratives, and simulations are created to challenge our assumptions and provide the counter-intuitive insights that drive innovation. Truly effective approaches don’t predict the future but envision possible environments that lead to new understandings and better questions. This is the learning from Scenario planning – where planning as prediction is rejected in favor of accelerating learning.

As products and services combine – the experience economy requires a deeper understanding of motivations, interactions and emerging connections. For brands this means telling stories to develop and assess prototypes, and using new objects, and artifacts to tell stories. Thus Brand Innovation revolves around our ability to interrupt and test new ideas in an ongoing simulated strategic conversation.

When Napster enabled the music loving community to begin learning faster than the incumbent recording industry, it was another early warning signal that the rules of the game have changed.

The lesson for organizations innovating their Brands is to accelerate their prospecting and discovery process by connecting their leading edge creative thinkers internally and externally and then sensing and simulating for new opportunities. Prospecting lies at the heart of securing new opportunities. Traditionally organizations relied on consultants to cross the boundaries – “bring the outside-in”. Now the networked world provides a plethora of network and boundary crossing methods (from messenger to Morpheus), yet few of these are targeted or result in accelerated organizational learning.

Brand innovation requires innovative brand networks. Smart companies are consistently building new connections. From knowledge management and external audits to extracting tacit knowledge using panels, learning journeys and facilitated exchanges. Still knowledge only exists in context and in flows. We should all ask: What makes more sense to you? Internally redesigning prototypes and specs or wind tunneling new concepts / experiences through alternate environments created with your leading edge creative thinking network? At New Canoe our proprietary prospecting & discovery practices lead to better brand futures and new sustainable brand innovation practices.



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Posted by: b n newman at April 11, 2003 6:41 AM