Say ‘fork’ fast 100 times.
Disruption, Innovation and Transformation are words often thrown around without much consideration for what those words actual mean or without the follow-through to make them real.
Most companies today recognise the need for change, in some shape or form, they understand the importance of evolution and change management to prepare them for the new digital realities of the consumer, however knowing where to start, how to manage a transformation and how to actually, well, innovate, is more challenging than people predict. And so we don’t, usually. We label it, sure, but the actions we take and the impact of these do not measure up against the true meaning of these words, against the force and the allure they used to have. It’s an upside-down flag state of affairs.
I have to say agencies here are partly to blame. They’ve convinced their clients that they can help them innovate, disrupt and transform, and because a lot of them are good at what they do, they’ve also convinced their clients that the meaning of these words somehow has changed. It’s not actually innovate, it’s tweak; it’s not disrupt but disturb and it’s not transform, it’s rename.
Some of my favourite ideas and thoughts, creations that’s pushed our world to new frontiers, are starting to loose all meaning.
It is, actually, like saying fork really fast 100 times.
Solve your problems within a new environment.
Now, not all hope is lost, I do have some sparks on the horizon I think can help get us all safely back to Planet Purpose.
Typically companies tend look at the need for change in silos; how do we change our marketing department to better respond to a social-and audience driven engagement, how do we better train our sales teams to be present and approachable in a non-linear decision making process and how do pivot our corporate communication to be less about internal statements and more about perception change and reputation building. All valid questions and all necessary in pursuit of success and leadership in a very noisy and ever-changing world.
However, I believe, answering these questions, no matter how well, in this environment doesn’t set us up for success, on the contrary is sets us up for failure in the long run. It does not allow us to fully consider the complexity involved, or the merging of touch points across a chaotic customer experience journey. It still tries to answer the question by looking at what we’ve got, what we’ve always used and the structure in which we’re used to operating.
One of my CORE believes is that problems
cannot be solved by thinking solely within the
environment they were created.
We need to look outside of our structure and our world and consider the larger eco-system. A smart woman once said that stealing from within your industry is plagiarism, but stealing from outside is innovation. That is exactly what I think we need to be better at. We can’t keep referring back to AirBnB and Uber for examples of this, we need to be able to apply it across industries, to understand the methodology in which to create it and the questions that needs to be answered for this to be relevant for all companies and organisation in dire need of a pivot.
Get yourself some friends.
If we consider the M&A’s of the past few years – Microsoft and LinkedIn, AT&T and Time Warner, BandLab and Rolling Stones magazine to name a few- we see how some of our larger players are starting to understand the need to look outside their own pond and go fishing in new territories. Building on what we already have is not innovation, or disruption, or transformation. It’s just tweaking, or adding or in a best-case scenario – evolving. If we want to be able to talk with some authority about true disruption and true innovation, we need to look to partners across the broader eco-system that can help us problem solve through new lenses, in new environments and for new purposes.
We need to stop trying to retrofit realities of today into our set-ups of the past.
Tear it down then build it up.
I was lucky enough to cut my teeth on Disruption at TBWA and it taught me that sometimes you need to tear things down in order to build something better. Question everything. Ask Why until you have no more Why’s to ask.
This involves including everyone within the organisation who’s got an impact on the CX in the planning stages, understand their challenges, the opportunities and the trends at each of these touch points. Foster an environment of collaboration – not ownership, roles and separate P&L’s. Understand the gaps for your audience throughout the journey, where you’re not relevant or where you do not have any impact, and then look outside. Who in the world does this well? How did they do it and how can it possibly be relevant to your industry and your situation? Invite them in, understand their world and work with people and experts who understands how to identify these core challenges, the opportunities within a larger context and who to bring to the table in order to solve these problems in a new way, to build something different and create new territories.
I believe the winners of tomorrow will not be the ‘innovators’ who simply rename internal roles or stuff more buzzwords into their creds deck. The winners will be those who dare to tear down and build back up not using the same material, but finding different pieces from different environments that play different roles at different stages of the CX universe we’re all trying to grasp.