Innovation spurs marketing changes

This year´s SXSW was vast, varied and covered a wide range of topics. This can make it hard to grasp but I´ll say there was one significant theme: the changed rules of innovation and how that changes the rules of marketing.


Obviously, you can´t have a Twitter or Foursquare-launch every single year in Austin, and therefore I felt this year was more about a maturing segment and the need to pull all the different technologies together and make neat, usable applications for most people. Whilst earlier SXSW´s have been more centered round mind-blowing new stuff (that you in hindsight can´t really see the use of), this year it was more picking up what´s already there and making it usable.


Our very own GM at Dentsu Global Planning Office, Koichi Yamamoto, hosted a great morning session at the Hyatt talking about the next evolution in communication. One of the big topics this year for wearables and Internet of Things, and this was also covered here. However, by bringing on the cyber illusionist Marco Tempest (@virtualmagician), one managed to cover a different perspective and a fresh view on things.


Marco spoke about the social behavior, what is acceptable socially and not just from a technical perspective. This is quite interesting, as we tend to think that “everyone” will wear a Google Glass in a short-term perspective. Marco reminded us this is not necessarily the case. We also need to fit in socially.


Another inspiring session actually took place inside the trade show area, on the Next Stage. Philips´ CIO Antonio Hidalgo hosted an innovation-session, and his intro gave insights into how Philips view innovation of today.


He emphasized the big changes in innovation; moving from company-centric to consumer-centric innovation. He gave us four rules of innovation:


  1. Be user-centric: all innovation should start with a real, defined need for a product or service. Listen to needs rather than push a solution.
  2. Don´t worry about the business model: if you create a solution people really need, the business model is going to work.
  3. Co-create: you need to get out of the silo and work with other professionals. You also need to involve the end user (whether pro users or regular consumers) to create solutions they really need.
  4. Use insight gained in social media: the amount of information we now have access to, can be used to better know the real needs of those we create solutions for.


Philips have taken these lessons on board, and their embrace of social media can be seen every day in how they use their Linkedin groups to have a constant dialogue with professional users about their needs and wishes. Check out Innovations in Light or Innovations in Health if you haven´t already seen them.



My key takeout from this is that innovation happens in even higher speed and the fact that people can acquire technology such as 3D-printers at relatively low costs, means that it happens everywhere. All the time.


Being a marketer has also changed similarly. From yesterday´s campaign-centered thinking we have moved into creation of solutions and services together with clients and their customers. We work insight-based and the process is fluid and flexible to suit different needs of different clients.


The main thing we can learn from Philips´ approach is to onboard different people in creation processes. Creation is not something that happens inside one department in one office. We need to speak to those actually in need of a product or service, and those people can sit inside the client´s office, in a company buying those services or in one of our sister agencies. Or they can be completely outside of this loop, just waiting to be involved in a process that will eventually lead to true innovation. Something that changes people´s lives. A service, a product or a great solution.