Now in its third year, the 2013 General Electric Innovation Barometer, a global survey of the barriers and drivers of innovation, once again reinforces the vital role of partnerships and collaboration to successful innovation. The Partnership Paradox remains too; innovation requires partnerships, many commentators extol their value, leaders and CEO’s desire them but most individuals and organisations struggle to build them. A lack of trust seems a constant reason why these valuable marketing relationships are often so hard to secure yet often so easy to lose.
It’s a lack of empathy, a lack of trust, a lack of collaborative skills – and a lack of leadership and communication skills are, in my experience, far bigger issues – than a lack of introversion.
It is March 2012 and I am in London listening to Susan Cain, who is a phenomenon in the world of current ideas. How influential is she? Well, in the one second it has taken you to read that sentence approximately thirty-two people have viewed her standout talk at TED. And a further 451 have viewed it on YouTube – in the last hour. Her book ‘Quiet’ – ‘The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking’ – sits in the New York Times Top Five – and her piece in the New York Times attracted an astonishing 241 comments alone.
Over 13 years – a Cambridge University PHd named Michael Lynch took his research into the mysterious world of ‘pattern based computing’ – added a £2000 chance investment he obtained from a bloke he met in a pub – and turned this into into an international technology giant that last month was purchased by Hewlett-Packard – for something in the region of $10.2 Billion. His story shares a lot of similarities with Mark Zuckerberg – the founder of FaceBook. And as he built up what would become Autonomy Corporation, Lynch agrees that there were indeed lots of late night coding marathons fuelled by chinese takeaways. However, unlike the movie ‘The Social Network’ – his ‘group of British nerds’ were never ever surrounded by beautiful women…
The historian and philosopher Theodore Zeldin – founder of Oxford Muse.com says a lot with few words; “the kind of conversation I am interested in is one where you start it prepared to emerge from it a slightly different person”. As befits a great mind, this is a deceptively simple insight that contains within it a quite a profound truth. How often in business do you engage in a conversation where you are truly open to the ideas of others?
The term partnership can mean different things to different people and in many cases that makes sense but it should never just be about the purchase orders. This is a point that has been made very clear recently by Ben Gomes-Casseres. If the shared definition is not understood and agreed by the parties early on, it can frustrate and poison any chance of a long-term relationship – be it one based on sales, marketing collaboration or anything else.
The mad, brilliant and socially awkward scientist. The artist shivering quietly in the studio. The maverick hyper competitive marketer, alone in their spreadsheet. It is a dominant image – explaining the great steps forward being huge individual and innovative leaps, driven by one dynamic individual. Continue reading “More Exaptation Marketing – And Less Innovation”
If Innovation is about ‘making it real’. Pioneering is about ‘finding the new way of doing things.
Pioneer: “(v) To open up an area or prepare the way. (v) To take the lead or initiative in. (v) To open up and explore a new area”. There is much talk in marketing about innovation isn’t there? And yes, it’s a concept I do have a passion for. But do you know a marketer who does not describe themselves as innovative? Its like trying to find a programmer who does not like Star Wars. And speaking of Star Wars, where did George Lucas get his ideas from for all those amazing special effects? More of that later..