Digital Media Strategy Architect, BUNN
Lyle Bunn is an independent analyst, advisor and educator providing digital place-based signage expertise to end users in the planning, design, sourcing and optimization of their initiatives. He has published more than 300 articles, whitepapers and “how to” guides and helped to train over 10,000 end user and supply professionals. See www.LyleBunn.com.
Companies improve their results through innovating. Innovation is synonymous with advancement and in our world where enabling tools and solutions present constant opportunities, the challenges of selection is ever increasing.
“New” most often means “new to us.” This brings a key dimension of evaluation because “new to us” can mean that competitors for share of wallet, time and attention are already benefiting from the new approach. Leadership in our world is more often defined as being a fast follower or part of the early majority of users.
Bob Amster, Principal of Retail Technology Group sums this up in saying that “most follow, few lead,” adding that “innovation is dictated by a combination of imagination, perceived return, trends, culture and the personality of individuals making those decisions.”
The abilities to manage risk and for change management are some key ingredients of innovating.
Mark Ryski, Founder, CEO and Author, Headcount Corporation noted in a RetailWire comment “When it comes to innovation, retailers in particular need to focus on the critical few versus the trivial many of business challenges”. He notes “there are so many solutions available that determining which solutions to evaluate let alone implement is a problem. Retail executives need to be clear about their business objectives, set priorities and then narrow their focus to explore the solutions that can help them achieve these”.
Many innovations contribute to the accomplishment of a range of business priorities. Email and electronic commerce are good examples of broadly applicable enabling infrastructure, and umbrella approaches such as omni-channel marketing, customer relationship management and partnership strategy provide the context to assess the applicability of innovations.
Innovation only happens when somebody is expected to do it. Otherwise the force of inaction will prevail. Everybody in the enterprise must expect it from everyone above and below as a culture of innovation.
Patricia Vekich Waldron, Global Marketing Director, Retail, Consumer Products, IBM Corp cautions against trying to be incrementally better than the business next door, because consumers are measuring everyone against their last great experience regardless of what it was”.
Innovation in the “new to us” world can mean applying approaches that are proving successful in different applications. For example, quick serve restaurant drive-thru offers lessons to banking and parcel pick up. Museum, gallery and stadium media presentation offer lessons to malls and retailers. Corporate lobby display can take lessons from transportation messaging and trading floors.
Lee Kent, Principal, Your Retail Authority, LLC advises that “The first step to saying yes to innovation is to be innovation-ready by creating an infrastructure based on a core. A core is established by looking at mission-critical processes focused around customers, suppliers and employees”.
When this is slow to emerge, innovation centers should be established to be a force for improvement by identifying and advancing business, marketing, operating and technical opportunities that others may overlook or that span organizational boundaries.
Dynamic in-store signage is an example of an approach that improves the productivity of place, processes and people and positively impacts many areas such as customer engagement, location appeal, branding, merchandising, supplier support, associate training, safety improvement, hiring, loss prevention and others. Introducing this approach requires executive or innovation group stewardship.
Digital signage and place-based dynamic screenmedia meet the definition of “new to us” innovation definition and criteria of many organization. It’s technology has been well-proven across and within business sectors even as the content that it is used to present is specific to the goals of the individual business. It’s customer engagement and business development value through branding and merchandising support traffic generation and revenue achievement, as does it’s bringing vitality and improved ambiance in locations where it is used.
For some organizations, the challenge of advancement lies in more fully using the innovations that they discover. The processes used for test, trial and discovery can differ from the budgeting and operational approaches that would allow an innovation to be more widely applies.
Being innovative therefore entails defining approaches that are new to the organization, but also, advancing the ways that allow the benefits of these to be more fully realized.