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Posts Tagged ‘Innovation’

Creativity Block: Inspiration vs. Deadlines

Wednesday, August 15th, 2018

We’ve all had epic moments when inspiration just hits. Whether it’s in the shower, at the gym or at work, the words and ideas seem to flow so quickly and eloquently. Conversely, moments when the deadline is knocking and there’s no creativity in sight are just as common.

So how do we press on to produce quality, creative and innovative content & ideas even on the days when the only creative idea you can think up is what you want for lunch? (if that!)

When the pressure is on, sometimes our ideas are less and less inspired. We start to factor everyone’s opinion in. What would a client want to see? What about a manager? How would co-workers and peers view the idea? While it’s not bad to have your end goal in mind, simply creating something that you think would “check all the boxes” may hinder your creative juices and prevent you from developing an idea of real value.

If it doesn’t make you a little nervous to press “send” on the idea – then chances are it’s not as innovative as you think. Be willing to discuss ideas that may seem out of the box. The worst thing that can happen is that no one likes it, but your bravery to try something different could be received well and your idea can be further developed through the brainstorming of others.

Don’t let the stress of an impending deadline leave you frozen. Take a walk, get some coffee and reevaluate what the main goals of your project are. The creativity will come.

Does Following the Rules Prevent Progress?

Wednesday, July 18th, 2018

Rule following comes naturally to some. Without rules or guidelines, there is chaos…. Rules have benefits for safety, security and order; for personal integrity and ethics. But, we are all faced with moments when blind rule-following only breeds inefficiency and mind-numbing dullness.

Rarely have innovative ideas followed the so called “rules” of the era. At some point we all naturally begin to understand which rules are incontestable and which are up for debate. Think back to grade school. You were asked to complete busy work every day and those assignments in total made up, let’s say, 10% of your grade –even though they took up majority of your class time. If you had only completed a few of those assignments but aced the tests and projects, you would have saved hours and still gotten an A. But it wasn’t about efficiency, it was about learning to follow the rules.

We’re taught about the vitality of rule following from the very beginning. It’s ingrained in us strongly by parents, teachers, even peers. But is this deep-seated convention inhibiting creative thinking, innovation and efficiency?

While a child is taught that a rule is unavoidable; an adult may identify a simpler process to attain the same or improved outcome. Sometimes the comfort of a rule or a process that is set-in-stone prevents people from even searching for a better way. A commitment to innovation and progress requires some level of openness to changing the game and breaking the rules.

The Startup Culture Secret

Wednesday, October 25th, 2017

Startup culture seems exhilarating; the concept of wearing vintage tees to work and being part of something new and cutting edge. Why does this environment seem so attractive and something that organizations try to maintain even after they’ve grown beyond their initial garage-based business stage?

Here’s there secret: There’s No Directional Compromise.

At least not for a while, that is. In most organizations, there’s a directional compromise that takes place and it often boils down to the question of tradition vs. progression. Without a traditional precedent for people to fight for, there is less directional compromise (in startup culture).

It’s natural for industry veterans to hold onto the way they’ve always done things, so often times the “progressive bunch” with new ideas and French press coffee will compromise their cutting edge (maybe too cutting edge) ideas for something that will please those who have been around longer.  This type of generational change happens in all organizations, but one reason startups seem so revolutionary, is because they haven’t had to encounter that situation quite yet.

Innovation and progression are vital to any successful organization with the respect of history and expertise gained along the way. There are many businesses, non-profits, and clubs that fail due to the inability to stay innovative. But, just because a startup seems innovative when it begins, doesn’t mean it will maintain that culture by default.

Somewhere along the line every startup company that “makes it” will become an aging company and the way they navigate that transition will determine whether they’re really a startup at heart. A true startup company will navigate all decisions with innovation and progression regardless of the traditional precedents.

Innovation isn’t a new idea.

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

Not long ago, a person could make a decent living by simply having a strong work ethic, good skills and the willingness to put in the time. People who showed up and completed their regular daily tasks were valued; strength and a willingness to get dirty didn’t hurt either. But today, everyone is expected to be a creative thinker; an innovator. And why shouldn’t they be?

Technology has overtaken many of the jobs centered on labor and basic production, and almost anything we could ever possibly need is at our fingertips – information, ideas, home-delivered groceries and products (soon to be delivered by drones). According to Brown University’s Mark Blyth, we live in a world where everything we need could be easily supplied by 10% of the world’s population. Those odds aren’t great for average-Joes who are just looking to get by.

Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella recently wrote, “our industry does not respect tradition — it only respects innovation.” Although Satya is specifically referring to the technology industry, this statement applies to almost any category of business today. Consumer packaged goods companies are constantly looking for innovative new products to meet consumer desires; health professionals are working on innovative new cures and technologies; gas and oil companies are looking for new innovative fuel sources; and on it goes.

Innovation is simply a different way of looking at things. Anyone can be innovative. It’s a mindset. It also helps if you know how to use data to your advantage. It doesn’t matter if you are just trying to get ahead at work or if your aim is to develop the latest “bright and shiny thing”. Never be satisfied with the status quo and always engage your brain in the world around you. You’ll be amazed at what you see.

A Slice of Convenience

Thursday, October 8th, 2015

Emojis have been steadily changing the texting game over the past ten years, allowing users to more appropriately relay their message and mood with the aid of balloons, hearts, smileys, etc. And quite frankly, emojis are all around awesome! Who doesn’t love that little red-gowned salsa dancer? Right?! Now, thanks to Dominos, emojis are not only delivering a side of sass, but your pizza, too.

Domino’s along with the help of Crispin Porter & Bogusky, a global advertising agency, announced earlier this year that they would be bringing innovation to ordering with the assistance of the pizza emoji. Part of Domino’s AnyWare technology campaign, customers can text the pizza emoji to DPIZZA and receive a real life edible pizza at their doorstep. Of course there are a few preliminary steps… customers must first create a Pizza Profile on with their “Easy Order” information, but then, you’re on your way.

This recent Domino’s and Crispin Porter & Bogusky partnership follows their 2010 “Oh Yes We Did” cooperative campaign. The “Oh Yes We Did” campaign aimed to change Domino’s less than stellar reputation by poking fun at the quality of their crust and asking customers to give them feedback in an effort to build a better pizza. CP&B asked Domino’s to refocus “in a way that would bring a sense of humanity back to the experience and make customers believe that every pizza was made by a human being with care, love and passion.” The campaign was successful and boosted Domino’s sales.

Fast forward to 2015 – nothing says care, love and passion more than a pizza emoji, right? The AnyWare campaign is undoubtedly convenient in our fast-paced world, but seems to be lacking the caring and quality experience Domino’s fought to achieve with their prior campaign.

As technology continues to evolve, advertisers and marketers will harness this technology in an effort to keep their brands ahead of the competition. But are they abandoning care and quality business-to-customer relations for the sake of convenience and speed? Before long various other pizza palaces and burger joints will assuredly adopt emoji ordering and the need to communicate via phone will be obsolete. Let’s just hope that they send a thumbs-up emoji to confirm our order is correct (insert smirky emoji here).


Ann Keeling says:

Domino’s over the years has not been a standout, however with their ‘Oh yes we did’ campaign, they put it all on the line in favor of transparency. That helped them improve product quality along with a serious level of consumer engagement. The Pizza Emoji program keeps the earlier momentum going and adds innovation that the pizza industry hasn’t seen before. Perfectly positioned, now, Domino’s, in addition to being associated with great tasting pizza, will be associated with innovation. Pretty brilliant and fun – what an amazing way to build a brand.