Controlled Innovation: The Best Ideas Are Born at Home
Creativity Marketing Transformation

Controlled Innovation: The Best Ideas Are Born at Home

When buzzwords like “disruption” and “innovation” burst onto the technology scene about fifteen years ago, there was this idea that companies either did it or they didn’t. Then came the second wave of so-called “controlled innovation,” which meant that big brands who weren’t disrupting much of anything hired some creative people away from smaller firms, built them an office that was way cooler than the main corporate headquarters, and then asked them to think of great ideas. People were placed on “innovation boards” and executives even began seeking the help of “innovation consultants,” a trendy new industry position.

The problem with that type of prescriptive thinking was that even when the compartmentalized innovators had good ideas, main management thought they sounded risky and expensive.

As we usher in the new era of open innovation, springing from within the company, here’s a look at how you can transform your brand without reinventing the wheel—or whatever it is you make.

ThereThere’s No Out in Innovation

There’s a reason bringing innovators in from outside the company isn’t always the answer to your problems. Good ideas in theory are rarely good ideas in practice, especially by the time the finance folks have had their way with them. Instead of hiring more employees and bogging down your brand with outsider ideas for finding inspiration, look down your own company ladder. Marketing and sales teams, the employees who interact directly with the consumer, are often best positioned to provide needed insight. They’re already hard at work creating personalized experiences for their audiences and generating invaluable sales thought leadership by listening to their customers and learning from their wants and needs.

Why don’t brand leaders ask for their input more often?

Start Small

Whether you’re actively seeking innovation or have an idea and think it could be great, it’s important to remember that higher-ups love results and hate risky investments. If you and your team can do a test run and prove the innovation is beneficial, it’s more likely to catch management’s attention and earn approval without detrimental modifications. ER Marketing noted, “Senior-level employees have often played such a key role in the setting status quo, which makes it difficult for them to consider an innovation that could disrupt past ways of doing things.”

Instead of presenting an idea as a threat to the status quo that company leaders have worked hard to establish, show how it helps to further their vision, in a humble and straightforward way. People like being told that they’re right, so a successful innovation that’s aligned with the company’s vision can earn you accolades and validate the visionaries—a rare win-win in the world of ideation.

Go Big and Go Home

Practical, in-house innovation is the new norm across industries. No longer is controlled innovation limited to think tanks and workshops housed in postmodern lofts nestled in the hills of Silicon Valley. Businesses across the world and across all industries recognize the value of marketing innovation to speak to customers as the ways we research and discover all goods and services changes.

You can go big right at home.

Feeling insipired? Want more ideas to jumpstart your own open innovation? Download Skyword’s free eBook, “Agency Content Innovators,” to receive the best moments and most valuable lessons from our ongoing interview series.

Recommended for you