Article

Michael Nutley
Michael Nutley 22 September 2013
Categories Innovation & Trends

The need for ideas has never been a greater

The defining characteristic of our times is uncertainty. New technologies are changing everything, wiping away companies that have existed for decades as the principles behind entire business sectors are rewritten. And surviving one wave of disruption is no guarantee that you'll still be in business after the next; "getting it" doesn't come with life membership.

The defining characteristic of our times is uncertainty. New technologies are changing everything, wiping away companies that have existed for decades as the principles behind entire business sectors are rewritten. And surviving one wave of disruption is no guarantee that you’ll still be in business after the next; “getting it” doesn’t come with life membership.
 

What’s more, there’s no sense of this technological change slowing down. Futurist Ray Kurzweil argues that innovation is not linear, but exponential, as each new invention makes many more possible. In his book The Singularity Is Near, he predicts that we’ll see the equivalent of a century of progress (at the rate for 2005) in the 25 years from 2005.

 

Faced with this level of disruption and uncertainty, the most important quality a business can have is agility, the ability to respond quickly to changes in technology, customer behaviour and cultural norms. That in turn depends on two things; how good the people within the business are at coming up with new ideas, and how good the business itself is at recognising the best of those ideas and putting them into action.

 

And this is what has turned traditional business logic on its head. The old-fashioned virtues of scale and market dominance mean nothing if your customers suddenly and completely change their behaviour; look at Kodak. Instead the values that matter are those associated with small, challenger businesses - speed, flexibility, risk-taking. 

 

That may be fine if you’re working in a start-up - and it goes some way to explaining why Instagram sold for $1bn at about the same time as Kodak filed for bankruptcy protection. But what if you’re not? What if the business you’re working for isn’t fleet enough? What can you do to generate more and better ideas? And how can you get them through all the barriers that corporate structures create so those ideas can make a difference to the business?
 

Inspiration - The Life-Cycle Of Ideas is an attempt to look at some of these issues. It’s a conference running in London on 31 October, bringing together experts from all aspects of digital marketing, from clients and agencies, and mixing them up with creative people from other walks of life, including a graphic designer and an architect. The aim is to look at where ideas come from, what inspires them and how you can have more of them; and then to talk about how to develop those ideas and make them reality. 
 

For full details of the event, click here: http://www.digitaldoughnut.com/inspiration 

 

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