Why the word 'innovation' is exhausted

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The term ‘innovation’ can be interpreted in so many ways which means it gets commonly overused in the creative industry, according to a panel at Connect: London.

In a session entitled The Best Way to Kill Innovation is to Sell it, the speakers responded to suggestions that sometimes, fluffy marketing campaigns claim to be innovative with no good reason.

Chairing the discussion, Michael Olaye, CEO at Dare, said it can tend to be watered down because the word gets used in more than one context within business. But he assured the audience that more often than not, labelling a piece of marketing as innovative was justified.

“Innovation can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people,” he said. “I wear two hats every day; one as a CEO and the other is a tech hat. From an organisation point of view, innovation is people, structure, making money and selling your product but as a pure technologist it’s about how you make things better.”



“Guerrilla marketing (such as Tesco's Tannoy Takeover, above) might seem from the outside that it isn’t innovation, but I guarantee you the person that was in that lab has innovated in the background and that’s why you hear the term,” he said.

“Innovation has to start narrow then go broad,” added Robert Belgrave, CEO at Wirehive. He explained that the Tesco work obviously wouldn’t change the world but could lead to someone building on it to create something that would. “Those puff piece guerrilla marketing ideas might seem like whatever, but they can turn into quite meaningful change,” he said.

The panel also included Adam Powers, chief experience officer at Tribal Worldwide, who spoke candidly about his previous experience at BBH Labs; Adah Parris, tech philosopher and strategic consultant; and Robin Charney, director of digital and innovation at AAR.

See more sessions like this from Connect: London 2018 here.



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