Partnerships Big & The Small: Some Just Don’t Get It

We’re as strong as our network. And when small nimble players can appear and disrupt even the most powerful of industries – it is dangerous to be playing alone,

Cynthia McIntryre has just published a great piece in HBR explaining why and how SME’s & corporates  need to collaborate.  If they want to prosper –  SME’s need to form smart relationships with powerful players – and get access to their resources and experience. And likewise, if corporates really want to innovate, its been proven that they need to add the energy, ideas and freshness of SME’s to their mix. Its partner – or perish. So, why do some people still – not get it?

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Collaborate To Innovate – Don’t Just Cannibalise

A very interesting article in HBR, Vicki Gardner highlights recent research from Nielsen showing that most of what is deemed marketing innovation actually just cannibalized existing products and market shares – and that genuine innovation should come from collaboration. As Gardner says; ” Regarding innovation, the numbers indicate that the vast majority of innovation also results in splitting the pie vs. growing the pie — and in some cases, innovation inadvertently shrinks the pie”.

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ITV’s Crozier: Collaborative Media Partnerships Are Key

Adam Crozier, the Chief Executive of ITV reveals in an interview in The Guardian that collaborative partnerships will be vital to the future of the broadcaster – and in a multi-channel and ‘non-linear’ world, content owners and distribution channels will have to look at challening new models, including working with brands and organisations traditionally viewed as their media rivals. This reflects the broader trend for collaboration and partnerships to be increasingly seen as the key driver for innovation (see my earlier post on this trend at

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The Number One Key to Innovation = Scarcity

From the Harvard Business Review Blog – this is a great piece on the importance of ‘scarcity’ to innovative thinking. This reminds me of a great excercise one of my old agency bosses did one day. As part of our own agency marketing plan, she briefed me and the creative team to come up with a great relaunch campaign and gave us what we thought was an exciting budget-  of around $50K. We attacked the brief with gusto can came back with a fantastic and multi layered cool promotion that spent all the budget. She loved the idea and then said “Now – lets deliver it within three weeks and make it work for less than $25K – not $50K”. At first, we naturally got grumpy and said it was impossible.  But – as we worked the problem, looked at the campaign again, with fresher sharper eyes – we actualy were able to delete certain aspects of the original idea, developed a better campaign, for less budget. In other words, the budget scarcity had made us explore smarter and more cost effective solution. Scarcity of budget was the driver. I have also commented before on the problems with the entire ‘brainstorming’ creative myth – something that has been highlighted by Richard Wiseman among others. And in the article below, the importance of focusing on a problem rather than going off on tangents is really clear: ” that innovation managers will more often create businesses, services, or products that are successful in the marketplace when they intentionally impose constraints during the development process.” True. Sometimes, less is more.

via The Number One Key to Innovation: Scarcity.

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