"The agency of the future will be half a software company and half an entertainment company because that's the new landscape." according to Ajaz Ahmed, chairman and co-founder of independent digital marketing agency AKQA.
An "information economy" can't be based on selling information. The information economy is about selling everything except information.
When you create products, experiences or services around information that you have or ones you collect continously, I presume new business models get built.
So when we think of new products, we must ensure we don't just create dumb products, the value of it diminishes very quickly. Envelope information around so it gets enriched continously to create value.
Having just valuable information is no good. The information could be content, behaviroural knowledge etc. It is valuable only when it becomes relevant in a context.
Noah Elkin writes in a article -'real-world data ...might affect my purchase decision.'
That's is so true. When you see a salesman, you feel he has an agenda to sell his products. So, we get a lot more cautious. We raise our defences. When you see an ad, you know they will have to say nice things about the product to make you buy. Hence, we normally filter these messages and add our own 'trust filter' to it before we make a 'buy' decision. So, where do we really get real world data?
In our informal conversations with our friends, relatives, family members, associates etc.
In our formal conversations when you first believe that the person who you are talking to is an expert and therefore you can trust his/her word.
Or news that you pick-up in the newspapers, TV, internet etc - Sources that you believe provide unbiased information.
The sad truth is such data is never archived till social media came-in. Noah writes:
This kind of dialog long predates the meteoric rise of online social networks. Content has always connected us as consumers, and similarly, we have always found ways to share our thoughts and feelings about what we've consumed. The dramatic change that has taken place in the past few years enables us to capture, create and share our own content, moving us in essence from a one-to-one model (the proverbial water-cooler conversation) to a one-to-many model, opening our opinions to networks that span space and time.
He suggests two simple rules of social media:
Listen to your networks.
Be useful to them.
According to me, this should be the foundation of any communication that we design for consumers in broadcast media now. But, it starts from the other end.
It must be interesting enough to be useful to them first.
Then, they will listen to it.
And it must be useful enough, so they pass on the message to their network of friends.
I guess this triggers a dialog - the world of real data, which will then convince them to buy the product.
"Our brain is like a microscope. The more knowledge we gain in an area, the more sharper our brain and the more details we are able to observe and appreciate".
I always thought that if you are a keen observer, it improves your knowledge. But, if you decide you want to gain knowledge in an area and look for those things, the imprint in your brain is a lot more definitive, I presume.
Companies, therefore, need to first decide what they would like to know and learn about their customers, then go out and find them.
Economist has a fantastic article on learning innovation principles from Apple. Here are some tips from the article:
Not invented here and very welcome here
The first is that innovation can come from without as well as within.In fact, its real skill lies in stitching together its own ideas with technologies from outside and then wrapping the results in elegant software and stylish design. The idea for the iPod, for example, was originally dreamt up by a consultant whom Apple hired to run the project. It was assembled by combining off-the-shelf parts with in-house ingredients such as its distinctive, easily used system of controls. And it was designed to work closely with Apple's iTunes jukebox software, which was also bought in and then overhauled and improved. Apple is, in short, an orchestrator and integrator of technologies, unafraid to bring in ideas from outside but always adding its own twists.This approach, known as “network innovation”, is not limited to electronics.
Designing new products around the needs of the user, not the demands of the technology
Too many technology firms think that clever innards are enough to sell their products, resulting in gizmos designed by engineers for engineers. Apple has consistently combined clever technology with simplicity and ease of use.
Stay hungry. Stay foolish
Listening to customers is generally a good idea, but it is not the whole story. For all the talk of “user-centric innovation” and allowing feedback from customers to dictate new product designs, a third lesson from Apple is that smart companies should sometimes ignore what the market says it wants today.
The Macintosh was born from the wreckage of the Lisa, an earlier product that flopped; the iPhone is a response to the failure of Apple's original music phone, produced in conjunction with Motorola. Both times, Apple learned from its mistakes and tried again.
American Express has launched a unique online initiative called The Members Project that enables its cardmembers to come together as a community by submitting and sharing their project ideas for making a positive impact in the world. Cardmembers can rate and discuss the project ideas on message boards and will ultimately vote and choose one innovative winning idea that American Express will help bring to life with up to $5 million. The Members Project, which is a part of American Express' new brand campaign, "Are You a Cardmember," highlights the value of being a Cardmember and part of the American Express Cardmember community. "Our Cardmembers make up a unique community -- one that is highly engaged and passionate -- and we know that they care about the world around them," said Jud Linville, president of American Express Consumer Card Services Group. "Through the unique experience of The Members Project, our community of Cardmembers is pulling together and collectively shaking up the world just a little bit to do some good."
Cardmembers can go register and submit their project ideas for making a broad positive impact in one of the following categories: Arts & Entertainment, Business & Finance, Education, Environment & Wildlife, Fun, Health & Fitness and Community Development. Cardmembers can also participate by rating or posting comments about project ideas already submitted. For every Cardmember that registers, regardless of whether they come up with a project idea or just add their input on project ideas already submitted, American Express will contribute $1 toward the winning idea. The more Cardmembers registered, the more dollars available. American Express will commit at least $1 million and up to $5 million for the winning idea.
I love the deep engagement that this idea will create with their cardmembers.
Financial services products are sometimes too intimidating for consumers or too transaction focussed. How can you make an age old financial product like credit card interesting. Why not skins for credit cards that you have in your wallet? I read about this idea and thought it was quite interesting. It just makes the category interesting and financial services brands can make it a conversation starter for consumers.
..a company called CreditCovers started selling "skins," with special designs that consumers can stick over the fronts of their cards, theoretically transforming them from mere financial tools to emblems of identity...
I have been reading a lot articles on disruption,crisis management in corporations, rapid cultural changes in society, changing media habits of consumers due to new techonologies etc. I have always wondered how does one keep pace with such sweeping changes and how, me as a leader,keep the edge without jumping off the edge? Here are some interesting tips from Fast Company on what some leaders do:
Many leaders say that pushing the limits outside the office gives them the experience of being in the moment, especially in times of crisis and keeps them focused, ready to take action. They say it helps them become comfortable with pressure and embrace risk.
Continue moving…inaction leads to stagnation.
Talk to people…constantly.
Ask for feedback and be open to what you hear.
Try something that seems counterintuitive.
Don't let others in your organization do all the dirty work.
Go work "on the line or in the trenches".
Do a 360 on yourself.
Make a list of all the things that inspire you about other leaders. Compare them to your skill sets. What are you missing that they have? This is a great place to start understanding what you need to do to go to the next level. Then start learning those skills and practicing them. Start now, even if it's scary. You don't have to jump out of a plane to get your heart pumping; sometimes it is as simple as looking in the mirror and telling yourself the truth about something you should be doing and then taking the steps to do it.