Engaging leadership brand champions: studying the patterning of innovation, the struggle of the paradigm and the modeling of breaking brands free.
As a business person, a planner, and a student of enterprise internationally, working on the edge of innovation, I’ve been — we’ve been — exposed to some extraordinary people, ideas, teams and concepts.
That might range from the inventive team at the University of Washington, exploring the concept of ultrasonic vibration for mouth care (sonicare); to building a new web site, breaking the paradigm of conventional pharmacy sales (months before Drugstore.com) in the positioning and innovation strategy of Girvn’s creation of Thomas Piggott’s SOMA.com.
These experiences led to a continuous round of “NBD”, working on new brand development with CEO A.G. Lafley’s team at Procter&Gamble. That exploration continues. In working with one of the founders of a medical technology innovation group, Oridigm, part of our exploration was the concept of what makes paradigm — platform shifting — happen.
There’s a theory that the human mind shuffles — shuttles against — the edge of an obstacle until, literally, something happens. That is — the battering against that wall changes up until some insight forces a jump over the top. And a new platform, or plateau, is created. The positioning that is curious about this theory is the idea that there might be a kind of gathering force, a storm of ideas, that builds to the creation of an innovation. Others explore this idea in the notion that a tidal product conceptual or technological surge is part of a gathering mind fullness about potential shifting, that tips the scale of action in product development. It’s not the one big idea, it’s the many that gather around the edge of a challenge, and move through it to something new, more.
Phil Roos, GfK Strategic Innovation, a director of strategic research, offers that while a perception of “great innovation results from a mysterious combination of forces that make it appear to fall from the sky.” An interpretation suggests a randomized patterning — “divine intervention, the harnessing of creative genius or luck, to many, innovation seems to surface at random moments and emerge from circumstances that cannot be reproduced or understood.” However, trending show something different,a 30-year analysis of 300 product categories covering 225 countries, it becomes clear this perception is false: Tomorrow’s winning innovation can actually be predicted.
The concept suggests that the spirit of innovation is a kind of cumularity of actions, a mind cloud of advancement that brings products into play. Great innovation builds on evolution and does not require people to make radical changes in beliefs or behavior alone — it can be cumulative. Breakthrough innovation is actually a small advance or twist on an established ideation — change is evolutionary, its impact from can still be revolutionary.
The idea of innovation, against the bridging movements of time and cumulative invention and insights, coupled from the needs of the market, is actually a patterning that has some predictability. This might be construed in the construct of new “news” — cross-pollinating ideas across categories of development in the form of new features/benefits first gets launched by smaller players. Competitors then add new twists, and eventually the marketing category reaches a “tipping point” where an idea occurs with enough frequency for it to reach mass adoption. This might be defined as a fusion of innovation — the flux and flow of exploration, need, brings the characteristics of desire, and cross-pollinates across categories and markets.
Advancing need comprehension
Any innovation patterning is a comprehensive awareness of needs and the shifting movement suggests waves of successful mass-market innovation in various categories. The model of progression and study moves back decades studying the opening, early-trending, core motivators of the category of marketing and product brand expression. These are inherent issues of human need in satiation, foundations that are: well being, a sense of safety, convenience and gratification. These sensations of humanity can be linked to marketing category — a personal sense of health, of impression: beauty, and finally, ease. These, fundamentally, are the magnetizing draw in the beginning of any relationship.
The procession of waves of innovation include products, that continuously deliver more advanced expressions, of these core motivators ignite the fusion of benefits and the aligned presentation of secondary benefits. The model also plots where a category is in its evolution and shows it relative to other categories. This comparison pinpoints how a less-developed category may be influenced in the future by innovation “seeded” in more developed categories.
Based on this experience, it’s easy to predict how and why consumer needs evolve. What is hard is to know what to do in response and when to do it. There are distinct processes that create these alignments, and the meaningfulness of brand, to connection, to channels of relationship. This processing might be simple — it all comes to a yes or no — but the question really relates to how the opening query is formed against the advancement of change and innovation.
The diffusion of innovation
Innovations, to flow, suggest rate — and there are added theories to this proposition — how innovations flow into society applications and cultural embracement. To paraphrase some added researches, for example, diffusion of innovations is an actual theory examining how, why, and at what rate new ideas and technology spread through cultures.
And this isn’t a new path of engaged study. There is historical precedence: the concept was first studied by the French sociologist Gabriel Tarde (1890) and by German and Austrian anthropologists such as Friedrich Ratzel or Leo Frobenius. The opening theories in action — cultural influence and activation — was described by H. Earl Pemberton, who provided examples of institutional diffusions such as postage stamps or compulsory school laws. In a published exploration of the creation — and innovation — see Ryan and Gross on the diffusion of hybrid corn in Iowa. This was the first sustainably visible contribution in a broader interest in innovations which was especially popularized by the textbook by Everett Rogers (1962), Diffusion of Innovations (Rogers 1964). The metaphorical concept of flow-through — from the opening spark to adoption, defines diffusion as “the process by which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among the members of a social system.” 
Seeing trend, in watching evolution and adoption, visualized in a series of relational curves of connectedness — from early adoption and innovation acceptance, to broader consumer and cultural impression: the diffusion of innovations according to Rogers. With successive groups of consumers adopting the new technology (shown in blue), its market share (yellow) will eventually reach the saturation level, as noted in this chart from Wikipedia.
Evolution of the trends of need
To the definition of a final and critical piece: identifying future innovation that will deliver against the evolving needs. To do that, all of the innovation news / advancements in a category can be strategically mapped over time, much in the manner of a sequencing order of procession, like the river of flow, a familiar metaphor of channeling and market. Older stream runs create fluent branches that represent comprehension in concepts that is already “mainstream” to consumers. Newer channels of flow indicate emerging and future news, which can be identified well before it hits the mass market.
The concept of QUEST
Our approach is focused on learning about these processes and applying them as part of an evolution in new ideation and product development as a team-based, Girvin-facilitated exploration, the BrandQuest®. That notion of questing — and QUEST — might be positioned in the sequencing of this acronym initialization: Question — asking and exploring insights and trends, whether large movements or smaller dispositions of marketing and interest shifting. That sense of trend, and marketing awareness, lends itself to a positioning of Understanding; any examination of the ideas that might be associated with new brand development and trend can be found in Exploration. Finally, there are expectations in team leadership — how to guide, implement and ignite the adoption by the top-tiered stakeholder team: Strategic evolutions. Lastly, the empowered hybrid inculcation — getting the actions in play — and Tactical implications — the action plan of implementations.
Brand innovation champions
Any questing efforts requires leadership and key empowered champions of the movement. That might be to the comprehending and visualizing the brand — but more so, the leadership of trending shift. In our experience, that might be a CFO, sensing structural and capital shifts in resources and acquisitions; a CEO seeing faltering sales in certain areas; CMOs considering the continual brand expansions and evolutions. It takes leadership to move beyond “safe,” close-in innovation and truly do the work required to be future-thinking. This is particularly challenging in an economy where each and every marketing dollar is being scrutinized. But this type of leadership is essential to position the organization and its brands squarely against the highest potential future opportunities. It’s all about change. Girvin’s approach to exploring innovation and brand revolution starts in studying the trends — the moving rivers of consumer insights — empowering the key stakeholders for a flow-through of highest level ideas and insights that then incorporate conscious comprehension of trends and tidal shifts in product relevance and resonance.
Any team can find the concept of exploration — but the challenge is the nature of the inquiry — the heart of the quest: seeking and digging into the heart of brands, leadership, community, relationships, story, innovation and insights — that lead to diffusion and relatedness.
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References below, in addition to links noted:
* Rogers, Everett M. (1964). Diffusion of Innovations. Glencoe: Free Press. http://books.google.com/books?id=zw0-AAAAIAAJ.
1. ^ a b see the article on Trans-cultural diffusion or Roland Burrage Dixon (1928): The Building of Cultures.
2. ^ Pemberton, H. E. (1936) ‘The Curve of Culture Diffusion Rate’, American Sociological Review, 1 (4): 547-556.
3. ^ Ryan, B. (1943). The diffusion of hybrid seed corn in two Iowa communities. Rural Sociology. 8(1), p. 15-24. The widely recognized mathematical analysis of this study by Griliches, Z. (1957) ‘Hybrid Corn: An Exploration in the Economics of Technological Change’, Econometrica, 25 (4): 501-522.
4. ^ Ryan (1943), see above.
5. ^ Katz, Elihu & Lazarsfeld, Paul (1955). Personal influence: The part played by people in the flow of mass communications, Glencoe: Free Press
6. ^ Veneris, Yannis (1984). The Informational Revolution, Cybernetics and Urban Modelling, PhD Thesis. University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.
7. ^ Veneris, Yannis (1990). “Modeling the transition from the Industrial to the Informational Revolution”. Environment and Planning A 22 (3): 399-416. doi:10.1068/a220399.