Fernando Fischmann

8 principles for innovation in a corporate ecosystem

28 August, 2014 / Articles

Mayur Gupta, global head of marketing technology and innovation at Kimberly-Clark Corp., said at Tuesday night’s Technori Pitch event that he often would hear the company’s chief marketing officer, Clive Sirkin, say: “We don’t believe in digital marketing; we believe in marketing in a digital world.”

Gupta said he strongly believes we are in a period in which technology is driving everything and that the corporate world must catch up. He offered attendees eight key principles to drive innovation in a corporate ecosystem.

Don’t kill the butterfly. Killing good ideas can harm your company. Gupta illustrated this point by showing the attendees a YouTube video of a “caveman” focus group. The cavemen criticized fire and walked away thinking it was a terrible innovation.

Be consumer-obsessed. He said developers too often become obsessed with technology and end up creating things that make no sense. Put the consumer first and ask yourself what problem you’re solving. “It’s very important that the first and the last chapter of your idea starts and ends with the consumer,” Gupta said.

Be curious. Gupta pointed out that burs of a burdock plant stick to most anything, and all it took was one curious person to take note. The plant was the inspiration behind Velcro.

Moving forward is less risky. You could choose to be Blockbuster and stand still or adapt like Netflix and become a leader in the industry. “That’s where we are today,” Gupta said. “We’re standing on a pile of cracked ice. If we don’t move forward, you know what’s going to happen.”

Celebrate failure. Don’t just accept failure. If you do, he said, you’re lowering the bar already. Gupta looks at failure like playing a matching game. Every card you pick that doesn’t match isn’t failure; it’s a step closer to finding that matching card. As long as you learn something by failing, you will win, he said.

Connect the dots. Gupta said we’re living in a world that makes no sense, just random dots. Creativity and innovation stitch those dots together to create something beautiful, he said.

Become pi shaped. In today’s business ecosystem, you may have to take on many roles. Your clients want the best product for the best price, he said, and they want it now. Unlike “T-shaped people,” a term popularized in digital marketing referring to employees with one specific expertise, pi-shaped people are both right- and left-brain oriented. To succeed, he said, you’ll need to be analytical, yet able to understand the creative side.

Keep it simple. Gupta makes sure to first run his presentations by his wife and daughter. He said Albert Einstein put it best: “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”




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