Doing it differently is innovation!

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Newcastle is in the middle of an 80-day celebration of the North of England’s pioneering spirit. Among other things, the programme is crammed full of innovation which got me thinking about where does marketing sit with innovation?

According to Peter Drucker, “Business has only two functions – marketing and innovation”.

The scary facts are that around 85 per cent of new products fail and this is mainly due to a lack of customer orientation and marketing. However, we all know the adage that if Henry Ford had asked people what they wanted before the invention of the car, they would have said ‘a faster horse’!

How did Stephenson’s Rocket come about and how would we have known that it would evolve into the fantastic train journeys such as the Japanese silver bullet train – via the tremendous Orient Express?  One small step at a time.

Talking of rockets, I have had the privilege of hearing Helen Sharman speak about how she ‘ended up in space’ (go and see her spacesuit at the Great North Museum: Hancock).  It all started with her driving home from work one day and hearing someone on the radio inviting people to apply and as she says herself, she could either have ignored it or done something about it.  Her pictures of space are awesome and outshine any selfies I have ever seen.

Innovation is vital to all of us and every business, it’s not just the realm of large organisations. It can be as simple as improving the internal communication between departments – doing things together or doing things better.

I love teaching ‘Driving Innovation’, an elective module for the CIM Diploma in Professional Marketing, it’s full of useful practices and strategies and provides a learning space to cultivate your ability to think differently. It enables our delegates to take a visionary approach and view innovation through the lens of entrepreneurial marketing.

Innovation will bring business success for you as long as you do new and better things. The critical thing is to ensure you can put your ideas into practice to create value within your business. But remember innovation is also about culture, not just products.

So, what are you going to do differently today?

Written for Northern Insight Magazine by Veronica Swindale

Director, Chartered Marketer, FCIM and CIM Ambassador of the North 2017

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