More than ever before, ideas are the currency of business. You know that smart, latest thing, all-singing-all-dancing, electronic doo-dah you just carried home from the store? – Its obsolete! Yes that’s right – dead, old hat, done, finished with, give it to your granny. Meet son-of-your-doo-dah. Yes, he’s there on the production line in all his gleaming glory, just in front of, hey … can it be … it sure is … son-of-son-of-your doo-dah! In fact products in competitive sectors have no end of descendants in various stages of development heading for the stores, but the phenomenon isn’t exclusive to electronics or even consumer goods. Product development is the future for any business and if you want to have a future at all you are going to have to liberate some of the ideas that are in your organisation. Yes, that’s right, they are there already … well, some anyway.
A few years back I was having a conversation with a junior secretary in an advertising agency whose role it was to gather and collate local competitive activity for a major retail chain in towns where they were planning expansion. Out of that conversation grew an entirely new, breakthrough product/service called Store Report that not only assessed the competition, but provided national retailers with local campaign flexibility and a range of plug-in promotions to supplement their national activity. The thing was, it wasn’t my idea it was the secretary’s and it wouldn’t have seen the light of day if I hadn’t, by chance, been chatting with her. Store Report spawned its own business unit and generated revenue for years to come, but most of all it demonstrated to me and, I guess the management of the agency that ideas are locked inside the heads of employees in organisations everywhere – an ideas organisation just liberates them!
So how do you become an ideas organisation? Well, I’m afraid its back to brand development and internal marketing again. There’s no getting away from it your brand is the source of every success and failure you have had or will have. Being an ideas organisation is in your DNA … or not, as the case may be. Unfortunately for a great many organisations it is usually not, but it is a strand that you can grow back if the people at the top of your organisation are truly committed and you take an organised approach that starts with a brand model (See “Brand Discovery” tab above).