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Micro-Trends, Risk Comfort and Planning the Future

Trends and Insight 294 Add to collection

Geometry UK’s Captivate investigates how innovation is driving category growth

Micro-Trends, Risk Comfort and Planning the Future

“The pace of change we are experiencing now, is the slowest it will ever be,” Rory Sutherland has recently remarked. 

And, in an era of unprecedented change, most leaders agree that successful innovation can be the fuel for sustainable growth.

It’s Geometry’s belief that the ignition of explosive category growth and transformation is driven by meaningful innovation – innovation that creates business value by being laser focused on meeting a consumer need.

Hosting its latest Captivate event, Geometry challenged its audience to define the role of innovation as a growth driver. Does category growth come from product development or new routes to market alone? Should brands deliver innovative thinking across their whole business?

Three leaders of innovation led the conversation: Sid Baveja, UK New Initiatives Director at Just Eat, part of the FTSE 100 index; Mathias Kewsani, CEO Nerdindustries, a cutting-edge innovation company creating tech prototypes to innovative sales models; and Darren Burdock-Latter, Head of Innovation, Geometry UK, driver of category growth initiatives for Coca-Cola, Unilever & GSK among others.

The 90-minute Captivate uncovered three considerations for harnessing innovation:


The answers lie in micro-trends

Marketers constantly study customers for inspiration and information to help develop new ideas or business models. But for real innovation, look to emerging micro-trends.

Captivate saw Sid Baveja at Just Eat observe, “We look for and explore emerging micro-behaviours, we design solutions that serve those needs, we develop working prototypes and test them, quickly." He pointed to veganism – from fringe movement to mainstream. Nerdindustries’ Mathias Kewsan spotlighted Dr Dre’s Beats – a marketing rather than tech innovation. Beats recognised a micro-trend in personal expression through accessories and went on to dominate the market with colourful headphones, forcing category heavyweights like Sennheiser to disrupt their business models to defend market share.


Get comfortable with risk

“I would rather test and fail 100 times than scale stupidity,” Sid commented. Just Eat technology serves 22.8 million customers and 87,500 restaurant partners worldwide and an innovation strategy to test new initiatives in side channels rather than main channels. Learnings are maximised. Risk is minimised.  

Looking at factors coercing innovation, the panel argued for a new metric for success measure: benchmark KPIs on learning as well as accomplishment. Greater growth, panellists argued, comes from initiatives honed through trial and error rather than immediate (but probably lower value) success. Getting comfortable with risk is being comfortable that not every idea will succeed, and, that strategic testing will allow companies develop new products and initiatives with game-changing potential. 

Innovation philosophies and principles need to grow with the company – and the earlier people are brought on the journey, the easier it is to create an innovation mindset and culture. Darren said, “We don’t need different people, but we do need a different way of thinking – we need a different philosophy and technique. We don’t need to rehire but we may need to think about how we do it.”

Taking the argument, a step further, Sid Baveja commented, “To be commercially responsible, innovation needs to feed into overall business-as-usual KPIs and not be random. There is no R&D reporting line on Just Eat’s financial statements because it is successfully delivered as a core part of achieving the business’s strategic goals”.


Your market may not be there, yet…

“What will your business and your customers look like in 20 years’ time?” 

Nespresso was developed in the 1970s, yet it took the best part of three decades before consumer behaviour and demand became present. 

“The temptation to play safe in order not to cannibalise your existing business means you risk stifling innovation. Nespresso is a great example of a big company [Nestlé] perfectly managing that fine balance” said Darren.

Wrapping up Captivate, Michelle Whelan, Geometry UK CEO, concluded, “Innovation is absolutely critical to channel growth, to category growth, to business growth. We must change and disrupt. Take a risk, embrace failure. If we don’t, it’s the end of the future for every organisation.”

View the conversation in full below. 

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VMLY&R COMMERCE UK, Mon, 09 Jul 2018 13:23:40 GMT