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Creativity Unlocked

Discover and harness the creativity already present within your organisation. Learn how to connect this creativity with powerful tangible outcomes that will make your organisation soar.

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3 min

The rise of innovation

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The rise of innovation

Through a combination of networks, teamwork and creativity, large organisations can unlock a vast capacity for innovation.

Innovation is the new Holy Grail as companies strive to maintain a competitive edge – and some are realising that their best creative resources are right under their nose.

Rather than relying solely on their research and development departments, senior executives are tapping into creativity throughout their organisations. They are also recognising the need to embrace radical innovation, rather than just tinkering around the edge of their business.

Doing things differently

“Radical innovation turns the basic assumptions about how a market space works on their head,” creative strategist Mo Fox says. “So it’s not about doing better what we already do, it’s about doing it differently.”

It’s no coincidence that the best radical innovators are household names such as Google and Amazon. But while not everyone can be a Richard Branson or a Steve Jobs, everyone can foster an environment in which creativity can thrive. And while maverick geniuses tend to hog the limelight, teams and networks are vital to generating cutting-edge ideas.

In Australia, radical innovation is still relatively rare, according to Fox. She recalls how Apple “cannibalised” its own laptops when it produced the iPad. “Radical innovation means disrupting your own business model, and most big companies are not willing to do that,” Fox says. “That’s why radical innovation comes more out of the garages and start-ups – they’ve got nothing to lose.”

 

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The big players recognise, however, that this is an era of rapidly shifting trends and increasingly competitive global markets. They understand the need to be more agile and innovative to stay ahead of the game and grow their businesses.

Corporate thought leader Gary Bertwistle urges companies to unlock their existing resources. “Innovation and creativity are not just for the select few,” he says. “The people you’re already paying have got killer ideas. They’re driving forklifts, they’re fixing shelves, they’re processing payrolls, they’re sitting at reception.”

To empower these people requires cultural change, and that has to start at the top, according to Bertwistle. “The chief executive needs to buy into it and be passionate about it.”

Start at the top

Capturing the creativity inherent across your organisation is often a matter of creating spaces and times when people know they have the freedom to actually be creative according to Bertwistle and other innovation and creativity specialists. In some cases organisations can integrate creativity into business as usual, but in most instances it involves removing people from the usual work environment, creating combinations from different departments and skills sets, and breaking down hierarchies.

Taking people out of their comfort zone through creative festivals such as AMP’s Amplify, executive retreats, or off-sites in creative space are all mechanisms which can help to tap into corporate creativity which already exists within an organization.

The next challenge, he says, is to convince all the C-level executives to take part in, and support the creative process. They then need to formulate a philosophy – Bertwistle cites Nintendo chief Satoru Niwata’s “the impossible is possible” – and progressively “percolate” this down to every single team.

“Innovation and creativity are not just for the select few. The people you’re already paying have got killer ideas. They’re driving forklifts, they’re fixing shelves, they’re processing payrolls, they’re sitting at reception.”
– Gary Bertwistle, innovation and creativity expert

Fox has seen some Australian companies, such as CGU Insurance and Westpac Banking Corp, encourage an innovative ethos to develop incrementally.

“CGU had one or two people scattered throughout the organisation with a brief to make people think more creatively,” she says. “They started running small projects, figuring out what worked, finding and training as many open-minded people as possible. It’s still not something everyone does or has to do, but it’s spreading in a quite organic way.”

Bertwistle sees curiosity as crucial. “Some of the best business leaders didn’t have all the great ideas, but they had the great questions,” he says. “They posed the question then they stepped out of the way and let their people do their best work.”

Get people talking

Fox stresses the value of informal networking – people bumping into each other and having random conversations that spark new ideas, or help such ideas to evolve. “That’s why Pixar, which is among the best radical innovators, put its bathrooms right in the middle,” she says.

It’s important to give people the space to experiment and fail, rather than trying to mitigate risk and get things right first time, says Fox. And newborn ideas, which are fragile, need to be protected “so the system doesn’t eat them before they have a chance to draw breath”.

These principles, Fox says, “are translatable to any service or product development industry, because it’s an approach, it’s not a methodology”.

 

Innovation unlocked

  • Innovation and creativity are critical to keeping a competitive edge and growing a business
  • Radical innovation means doing something completely new, rather than improving on what you do already
  • There is creativity in every corner of an organisation – it just needs to be empowered and unlocked
  • Informal networks play a key role in the creative process
  • It is important to reward experimentation and not punish failure.

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2 min

Foster radical creativity

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Foster radical creativity

In an age of constant disruption, large businesses need to find more creative ways to foster innovation.

Australia climbed two spots on the Global Innovation Index this year, rising from 19th position in 2013 to 17th in 2014. It’s a good result, but it’s worth remembering that there are still 16 nations ahead of us.

In an era when start-up companies, unencumbered by legacy business structures or systems, can quickly overrun a market, the need for enterprise innovation has never been more acute.

Finance sector disruption has been particularly rife and has already led to Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Westpac setting up innovation centres to encourage employees to experiment with new ideas and processes.

CBA’s Innovation Lab, in the heart of Sydney, was set up as an ideas incubator and accelerator for internal bank teams, partners and customers. As chief executive Ian Narev noted at its launch, for a modern bank, “being able to be leading edge … is a life and death matter”.

 

Enable innovation – then support it

Former National ICT Australia (NICTA) chief executive Hugh Durrant-Whyte says that the finance sector is among the most innovative in Australia because of the constant assault by disruptive innovators, especially in the area of payments.

He believes that setting up a central location as a focus for innovation is important but it needs to be backed by an innovation-supportive culture. “Sometimes that’s challenging because companies hire people and their key performance indicators are based on ‘don’t make mistakes’,” he says.

More innovation-supportive cultures take a different tack. Durrant-Whyte says NICTA has worked with a company’s senior manager “who made it his job to go to different business units and find a way to destroy them” – he would show how technology could radically change the status quo. “People feared him at first, but because of that the whole company was always innovating.”

In contrast, another organisation would attempt to innovate by first writing a business plan that defeated its object. “If you want a step change in the way you compete … rather than incremental innovation, there needs to be at least some portion of risk,” Durrant-Whyte says.

A note of caution

Telstra’s director of technology, strategy and innovation, Ben Spincer, cautions companies against attempting to mimic start-ups in the search for innovation. “We are not a start-up, we are a $25 billion company and that’s the biggest opportunity and hindrance,” Spincer says.

He adds that the innovation challenge for large enterprises such as Telstra is “to foster creativity and innovation in an organisation that has a propensity to be cautious and siloed”.

Innovation is for everyone

Spincer says a radical rethink of corporate culture is required to ensure bottom-up momentum for creativity and innovation and top-down support. Success, he says, demands that enterprises identify strategic priorities then democratise innovation by shedding command and control structures.

To nurture innovation, Telstra last year created an online platform: called the Innovation Hub, it encourages employees to submit an idea and receive support for further investigation.

“If you want a step change in the way you compete, rather than incremental innovation, there needs to be at least some portion of risk.”
– Hugh Durrant-Whyte, chief executive, National ICT Australia

“This has been as much of a tool for cultural change as for innovation,” Spincer says. He describes his role as “curator of innovation” in the enterprise, adding that innovation itself is a task for the entire workforce rather than the chosen few.

“The moment you focus on a small team they will inevitably lose touch with the rest of the business, which will revert to business as usual because they assume that team will be responsible for innovation,” he says. “This needs to be in everyone’s KPIs.”

 

Hugh Durrant-Whyte's recipe for innovation

Ingredients

  • A number of smart people from diverse backgrounds
  • Enough funding to let them focus on innovation rather than grant proposals
  • Time

Method

  • Combine smart people in a porous enterprise that allows them to breathe and share ideas freely
  • Sprinkle with funding throughout the innovation process, rather than adding it all at once
  • Leave the mixture to bubble alone, skimming off the good ideas as they rise to the top

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3 min

Tune in, turn on and engage

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Tune in, turn on and engage

Robb Beeston, managing director of Beamly, a social and content network for television, shares his insights into customer engagement in the multiscreen environment.

Most of us inhabit a world of screens. We are constantly receiving messaging through our televisions, smartphones, laptops, tablets or gaming consoles, and most of us are consuming content across multiple screens at the same time.

The extent of our multiscreen use is revealed in a recently released Telstra whitepaper Beyond the box: How the second screen is changing the media landscape. The research looks into when and, more importantly, why people in Australia reach for a second screen.

When do viewers multiscreen?

The research reveals that the vast majority (80 per cent) of this second-screen use is not related to primary screen programming, although with some genres, multiscreen use is deeply and directly related.

The study found that viewer behaviour and use of a second screen is largely dependent on the genre the viewer is watching. Viewers are less likely to reach for their smartphones or tablets when watching compelling content, such as drama or sitcoms, while multiscreening is almost routine during genres such as lifestyle, sports and reality TV shows.

Second screen a marketer’s dream

This deeper understanding of how and why people use multiple screens creates a huge opportunity for marketers willing to embrace the complex but rewarding multiscreen format.

Robb Beeston, general manager of Beamly Australia, is building a strong business around the multiscreen phenomenon. Originally launched in the United Kingdom as zeebox, Beamly operates in the United States, UK and Australia, helping advertisers to bridge the gap between conventional broadcast content and multiscreen engagement.

“We wrap around television in particular, so we’re a place where true fans of television are able to come and find out news, interact with celebrities, find out about their favourite show, talk about their favourite show with other fans of the show, play games, that sort of stuff,” Beeston says. “We offer brands an opportunity to wrap around genres or specific shows, so what it’s great for is extending that broadcast campaign off the TV and into the online environment.”

A gateway to products and brands

The Telstra whitepaper highlights the opportunity services such as Beamly create not only to engage more deeply with related second-screen behaviour, but also to pick up on the 80 per cent of viewers using the second screen for unrelated activity.

Whitepaper author Kathy-Anne McManus suggests the second screen should not be seen so much as a competitor to broadcast content but more as a gateway to products and brands that the viewer genuinely values.

“What if the viewer knew they could grab a second screen and access content that had been tailored precisely to their personal taste?” McManus asks in the report. “By providing the distracted TV viewer with relevant, personalised content, media organisations could actually harness the power of the habit loop – the urge to reach for a second screen during moments of inattention to the primary screen.”

A deep understanding

McManus goes on to warn broadcasters and marketers not to be slow in embracing the second-screen phenomenon, or to ignore the availability of actionable analytics that provide a deep understanding of viewer behaviour and motivations.

“Those who do engage with the second screen to gain a deeper understanding of their viewers – and drive brand awareness and loyalty – will enhance their programming and marketing decision-making and also their ability to increase revenue streams across the many ways we view and engage with content today,” McManus concludes.

 

Multiscreen marketing

  • The phenomenon of multiscreening is related to the genre of the content – compelling content that requires more focus means the viewer is less likely to resort to another screen
  • Most second-screen use (80 per cent) is not related to whatever is on the primary screen
  • An understanding of second-screen use can provide deep insights into viewer interests and engagement
  • Second-screen use should not be seen so much as a competitor to broadcast content but more as a gateway to products and brands that the viewer genuinely values
  • Broadcasters and marketers should be making moves to integrate second-screen use into broadcast production and campaign design.

Download the White Paper

Beyond the box: How the second screen is changing the media landscape

 

 

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2 min

Right place, right sign

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Right place, right sign

Our love of screens is driving a whole new strategy around digital signage, so we have four rules you need to know to make it work for your organisation.

Thanks to falls in hardware costs, digital signage is now less expensive and more pervasive than ever. Broadband internet is also enhancing the flexibility and agility of this rapidly evolving marketing tool.

Digital signage allows the display of information or advertising content on screens installed in public spaces. Unlike conventional signage, digital signage can include video and other dynamic elements to enhance the message and allow a single installation to display a range of content at various times.

“Like any other technology, digital signage needs to serve a purpose and provide a clearly defined benefit.”
– David Gemmola, Fifth Dimension research director

Reasons to go digital

A recent study by Fifth Dimension Research and Consulting across a range of industries found four common reasons businesses invested in digital signage: brand perception (particularly to convey a “modern” image to the market); cost efficiency; to sell advertising space to third-party advertisers; for their own advertising purposes to drive sales revenue; and as part of an integrated solution incorporating an interactive element.

Four ways to make it work

So if these are the factors behind the push for digital signage, how can businesses ensure a return on their investment? Director of Fifth Dimension Research David Gemmola offers four points to keep in mind when considering digital signage:

  1. Have a clear objective for investing in digital signage
    “Like any other technology, it needs to serve a purpose and provide a clearly defined benefit,” Gemmola says. “It need not be a strict metric, it could be something less tangible such as brand positioning, but it needs to be agreed that this is why you are making the investment.”
  2. Design a complete solution with the objective in mind
    “If you’ve got a clear understanding of what you want to use it for, you’ve got to then design an appropriate solution to achieve that rather than going into it in a piecemeal manner,” Gemmola says. “Some companies would just build on a system incrementally without actually having a bigger picture in mind. They may not be able to invest in the entire technology infrastructure immediately, but they at least have a clear picture of what the end goal is in terms of the technology solution such that you can add to it and pursue that purpose.”
  3. Remember that digital signage is more than the screen
    “If you’ve got the smarts in the back end – the control systems that feed the screens – then you are going to get a better solution,” says Gemmola. “Content management and content distribution are very important insofar as the more sophisticated the system you put in place, the greater capability you have to use the screens in an effective manner.” Your audience changes depending on the time of year and month, even throughout the day, so effective scheduling of content is vital to success.
  4. Know what you want to measure
    Digital signage systems must be constantly tracked, and measured so that performance is optimised, and ROI assured. There are many factors for which you could obtain metrics, so you need to work out what is going to be useful to you. “It could be consumer engagement, particular things that are going to drive revenue, effectiveness of directional signage,” says Gemmola.
 

Digital signage:

  • Can drive revenue growth
  • Is a growing part of the out-of-home advertising market
  • Provides a new way to engage with both business-to-business and business-to-consumer markets
  • Offers a new dimension in advertising.

Learn more on how to engage your audience with digital media.

 

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1 min

Delivering the connected future

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Delivering the connected future

Discover a future where the entire supply chain is connected, monitored, measured and managed.