Internal Innovation Achieves External Results: Here’s Why

Is your newsfeed as saturated with articles on innovation as mine is? The numerous articles, blog posts and books on the subject have turned it into a glorified buzzword. The ‘I’ word is thrown around by companies who strive to become leaders in their industry.

Our obsession, especially with the practical application towards achieving innovation, has narrowed our focus onto best practices and case studies of the most successful multinationals. There’s no doubt that this is an incredible moment for innovation, but the requirements for innovative ideas today go beyond the practices of well-known disruptors.

Innovation within a business starts with culture, culture starts with people, and for innovation to flourish you need to start with the right attitude. It’s high time companies approach innovation from a proactive, rather than a reactive, state of mind.

In other words, don’t just look to solve the problems you face today, but forecast potential challenges for the months to come. At Social Garden, this approach shapes our innovation process, as we look to achieve meaningful change and ultimately enable sales. It’s the collaboration between teams that supercharges our clients’ sales funnels.

Break it Down to Build it Up

I think the greatest barrier to innovation is keeping a set standard. Your current operations can’t fuel growth forever. Many companies use benchmark results that fail to reflect the difference between campaigns. How can this provide an effective roadmap to success when solutions are never a ‘one size fits all’ scenario?

To give innovation its rightful place within your company where it can drive external results, you need to uncover what the job is to be done. True innovation goes beyond the traditional ‘brainstorms’ or ‘prototypes’ made famous by tech companies. It’s about finding the right strategy that fits the given situation.

I’ve worked on campaigns that fell short of industry standard metrics, some of which I use day to day to measure my own success. Does that mean the campaign failed? Not when we look at the bigger picture of what we are trying to achieve for our client.

In this case, that wasn’t a higher click-through rate but rather driving deposits further down the funnel. From time to time, it’s effective to break down the entire customer journey, from the ad served to deposit, to rebuild our understanding. Mapping this out with the team gives us the chance to develop a highly tailored solution (our favourite kind).

Keeping a bird’s eye view is key to every campaign we launch. Looking back on the campaign that fell short, we devised a strategy to achieve what we felt was the real job to be done. Lead generation is only a fraction of the sales funnel and by focusing our efforts on post-click activity, we increased our lead to appointment conversion rate.

If you don’t understand the complex relationship between each stage of the sales funnel and customer journey, it’s hard to measure the real success of a campaign.

Innovations Fail, Move On

Every innovation strategy fails at some point, welcome to the real world. New innovations are there to face challenges that are constantly evolving. For this reason, there can be no one pathway to innovation in business.

It’s vital to create a changing portfolio of strategies that grow, shift and respond to situations. Established businesses tend to kick back and follow faithfully what’s worked in the past, only to find out that this is no guarantee for the future.

That said, remember that innovation is often wrongly associated with age. While I admit that young companies have an inherently greater flexibility to move fast, true innovation relies on the collaboration of diverse disciplines with the right attitudes, not generations.

We encourage a healthy balance of structure and freedom, all the while recognising that best practices are usually outdated by the time they’re labelled as such. The efficiency provided by the structure is vital, but not as vital as the team feeling comfortable to let go and run with an idea – innovation needs room to breathe.

At the same time, nothing will slow down the thrill of creative flow like waiting for everyone at the table to agree. As more consumers are exposed to unprecedented volumes of digital content and marketing tools continue to advance, innovation and independence facilitate agility.

It’s all about respect for the hustle. Balance rational decisions based on the facts with a smaller team who, bursting with a confetti of new ideas, make decisions based on guts. The results we deliver for our clients are a testament to the success of being comfortable with innovation.

Keep it Open to Everyone

We know you don’t need another lesson in open door policies, but herein lies the importance of open innovation. Allow me to impart a secret: when you come across a complicated problem, it helps to get all hands on deck and expand your specialists.

What I think is so interesting is that these unlikely combinations are what can lead to our breakthroughs. For those of you scratching your heads, consider this – an open approach challenges you to rephrase the question until it fits your problem.

I work with such a variety of industries and objectives that this allows me to redefine my process. And everyone, from the design team to our data analysts, is encouraged to learn by doing.

Innovation and business, like all good things, takes time to meld and need space to breathe. The innovation that will shape your next opportunity lies beyond the boundary of what you think you know now. And for your ROI? Let’s just say, you’ll hold the card for Mayfair.


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