In 2014 I attended a lot of marketing, digital and innovation themed conferences, seminars and industry events. A few were a great investment of my time and money. Some were disappointing – but free. Too many of them however were, universally awful. The worst offenders were more hype over substance and I felt ripped off paying for them as I gained nothing from the experience. This is 2015. Isn’t it time we deserved better, smarter and more productive business conferences, events and seminars?
If marketers asked more beautiful marketing questions would we not create more beautiful marketing answers? What should those questions be? And why do we struggle to ask them? Part one of this two-part blog featured a review of Warren Berger’s excellent book ‘A More Beautiful Question’ where he explores the importance of questioning in innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship. In this second part I’m looking at how this approach can be applied specifically to marketing and the kind of questions that marketing leaders need to encourage to be asked more inside our organisations.
‘Why Don’t Companies Train People To Ask Questions?’ – Warren Berger
This is just one of the many great questions that Berger raises in this wonderful book that should be essential reading to anyone involved in product development, innovation or marketing performance. Linking to the themes from Berger’s main website - it explores the role and power of questioning in business, life – and everything. And just as important he examines why is it we seem too often to have forgotten the power of asking the really important questions – just when we need them more than ever? A More Beautiful Question is subtitled ‘the power of inquiry to spark breakthrough ideas’ – and of course in the vast realm of innovation literature, the role of inquiry and problem solving is a common theme. Curiosity (and some would argue friction and argument, as discussed in my interview with Gordon Torr in 2013) is the foundation of fresh ideas and solution. Read more…
In a recent article published in Entrepreneur magazine, Sir Richard Branson explains why the best entrepreneurs and marketers seek out new conversations, new ideas and new ways of doing things. A common ‘myth’ of innovation and creativity is the belief in the lone creative genius toiling away on their masterpiece. In reality – most breakthroughs require smart, highly motivated, highly communicative, diverse and argumentative small teams of people, energised by good leaderships and working with good processes. This paragraph from this piece from Branson explains it brilliantly;
” Many people think that an entrepreneur is someone who operates alone, overcoming challenges and bringing his idea to market through sheer force of personality. This is completely inaccurate. Few entrepreneurs — scratch that: almost no one — ever achieved anything worthwhile without help. To be successful in business, you need to connect and collaborate and delegate.Finding ways to meet with people in the real world and build business relationships is becoming ever more important in the digital age. While in some industries it’s possible for employees to limit their communications to email and, if they wish, avoid interacting with colleagues (and their managers), that’s not possible for entrepreneurs, since relationships built on trust are vital to doing business.”
To can read the full piece here: Richard Branson Is Not Going Alone.
I try to keep my radar tuned-in whilst trying to avoid too much of the noise. And for that reason there is still something essentially useful about a well structured book with quality content. My lecturing work at Tech Music School in Fulham and developing a paper on media industry collaboration for Henley Management School has seen me explore a number of interesting avenues from a range of great writers recently. From the latest thinking on strategic partnering and innovation to the lessons to be learnt from digital pioneers and brand & media franchising.
In the first of this two-part series I am reviewing; ‘Strategic Partnering’ by Luc Bardin, ‘Brandscaping’ by Andrew M Davis and ‘Media Franchising’ by Derek Johnson.
“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done. Make at least one definite move daily toward your goal.” – Bruce Lee.
The development of focused relationships with partners, allies and networks is a greater driver of innovation than countless rounds of internal brainstorming and intranet posts asking for everyone to be a bit more creative. Yet often individuals and companies cannot get over that first collaborative relationship step and move towards acting, testing and building something new, that could be greater than the sum of their two parts. Bruce Lee, knew a thing or two about the need to act and not just think.
2013 was a year that saw conversations speckled with comments on recovery, growth and creativity. The Economist says that Selfie and Bitcoin were the big words of the year. And many learnt the delights of twerking. But the big words for me last year were Data, Cafe Workshops and Collaboration. And according to my blog tag cloud, there was a fairly large amount of innovation, creativity, working and reading too.
I was lucky to meet and work with some great people in 2013. From 4CM to Versatile Connections and from Henley Business School and Powwownow to Krems University in Vienna and Tech Music School in Fulham. 2013 was a year of Cafe Workshops and Collaborative Consulting. And a year of some brilliant marketing writing from people I was lucky enough to meet too. Here are my picks for the best writing I saw from 2013.
And here’s to more in 2014.
Does ‘The Flex Factor’, a recent paper published by The RSA offer a balanced exploration of the pros and cons of remote and flexible working? Whilst I am a big fan of the use of new collaboration technologies and they may open up new avenues of innovation, Yahoo’s recent decision to restrict remote working shows that not everyone has the same view on what flexible working really looks like … Read more…