Marketers are the greatest allies for innovation because of their creative mindset and willingness to embrace creative thinking.
That’s according to Marisol Simard, founder of innovation consultancy dandelion clocks. New York-based Simard, who will be speaking at the ADMA Global Forum in March, says marketers are the best supporters of innovation because they are all too familiar with overcoming immovable obstacles to get things done.
“When people ask me how I have been able to transform within an organisation or corporation, well, it's with allies. And definitely, the best ally to have, as a partner, is marketing,” she says.
Simard founded dandelion clocks following more than 20 years in corporate innovation roles, predominantly in the beauty sector. During her time at Avon, she led and invented the award-winning Mega Effects Mascara which uses a revolutionary new applicator. A stint at L’Oreal followed where she founded and implemented an innovation packaging centre for the brand’s American operation. But Simard was curious to gain an understanding of how innovation worked for organisations from an outsider perspective so she launched dandelion clocks. What she discovered was eye-opening.
“It's been very revealing. Most people are not reaching out for the right reason to consultants. They mostly use consultants to do their work instead of leveraging their complementary expertise and neutrality to validate their work,” she says.
Through dandelion clocks, Simard helps businesses address the challenges holding them back from truly innovating, a topic she will address at the Global Forum. Two of the key factors working against innovation are ego and preparation. “People do not prep. They just want innovation without prepping,” she says.
Here in Australia, innovation has become an overused and often misunderstood buzzword, a trend Simard has seen in other markets. To get past this, she says the first step is to define whether the business is looking for transformational, marketplace, category or operational innovation. “This simple exercise clarifies expectations, creates synergy and ensures team energy is spent at the right place – an easy way to expedite the innovation process,” she says.
It’s also important to know what is not considered innovation. Simply changing the colour of a product is not innovation, nor is it a ‘disruption’, the other buzzword that many see as interchangeable with innovation. Simard is keen to point out the difference between the two. “You cannot call something a ‘disruption’ if it hasn’t impacted society and life as we know it. Disruption is a transformational innovation that has truly changed people’s lives,” she says.
Another roadblock for true innovation is understanding who within the organisation is responsible for making it happen. Marketers may be the best allies but who else should be going on the journey?
Simard says: “Innovation has to occur in every department and that's what people forget about. It's not the job of one department. It's not the job of the innovation department. It's the job of every individual within the organisation. For example, you have to be creative financially to find the money to invest in innovation.”
And Simard says innovation must be viewed as an investment. “You don't spend money on innovation. Innovation is an investment, every day,” she says. “Yes, you need to be brave to go and do innovation but the rewards when you do are priceless.”
Marisol Simard will be speaking at the ADMA Global Forum on April 1st. Find out more and purchase your tickets here.