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Innovation in Marketing

Innovation is undoubtedly critical to the success of your organization, but don’t take it from us. Our 1 minute video clip will get you thinking.

The UCT Unilever Institute project on innovation in marketing can be presented as a full morning interactive workshop, or as a 90 minute presentation. In addition there is a 27 minute documentary style DVD featuring case studies from Metropolitan, Standard Bank and Virgin Active.

Innovation has become a business priority in an age where opportunities for growth are limited by saturated markets and homogenous products. Traditional thinking often adds significant value, as it assumes a stable (or at least predictable) future market landscape. This workshop explores ‘simple rules for a complex world’ that are aimed at everyday innovation in an ‘always on’ marketing environment.

The old business adage of ‘If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got…’ has never been truer, especially in South Africa’s rapidly changing socio-economic environment.

This workshop will explore why more efficient problem solving is only part of an effective innovation strategy, where different processes are needed to lead to more exciting and radical longer term outcomes. This includes ways to help firms build and nurture cross-functional teams to generate more comprehensive and original results, how to develop skills in brainstorming and prototyping to spur creativity and innovation, and how to make innovation routine.

Areas the workshop aims to cover include:

  • Tools that equip marketers to think about their context (market and customer reality, competitive threats, disruptive external changes) for different outcomes. These tools can be harnessed by marketers to transform their firms. This type of ‘design thinking’ teaches ways of incorporating innovation into everyday business practices.
  • Ways to simplify processes and encourage an atmosphere of ‘structured chaos’. Simple rules and streamlined processes can equip employees make more on-the-spot decisions and adapt to change by translating corporate objectives into a few straightforward guidelines. The idea of telling employees what not to do rather than what to do is explored. Identifying strategic bottle necks and the importance of being in touch with real-time information both inside and outside the organisation are further areas explored.
  • A look at short term growth strategies and how to navigate between successfully managing short term (‘genetic’) growth (old activities of core businesses) with new activities and projects that will take the organisation forward.
  • A look at the concept of probing, which deals with disciplined experimentation and prototype design-thinking methodology (for long-term growth). The issue of reducing risk in the innovation process is explored, as well as why sometimes it’s better to develop a company identity rather than a company vision.
  • The customer development process, and how to you validate assumptions and hypotheses. Well done, this reduces the risk in early-stage ventures. The limitations of the traditional concept, develop, alpha, beta, first customer, ship process is challenged, and why innovators often celebrate too soon.

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