How can you be a successful innovator?

What stands between successful innovations and failure? How can we learn from it, and where can we get exposure to a burst of creative ideas to super-charge business? The answers are here.
Years of research into and process-management of magazine media innovation show companies the How to be successful at innovation, to the delight of your consumers
What stands between successful innovations and failure? How can we learn from it, and where can we get exposure to a burst of creative ideas to super-charge business? The answers are here.
Years of research into and process-management of magazine media innovation show companies the world over adopt a number of approaches to innovation: some do it in a hurry, some more thoughtfully, some do it in one go and others in a more segmented way, changing just a few aspects at a time.
But, says John Wilpers of International Media Consulting (IMC) and co-author of FIPP’s Innovations in Magazine Media World Report, there is one thing that stands out among successful innovators: “They manage both the culture and the change process very carefully, paying close attention to involving and convincing their people.”
Aside from company culture, he identifies planning as another important risk factor in the success of innovation. “Some businesses are desperate to change quickly – and in some cases rightly so, due to a rapid decline in their revenues for example, but planning and researching and testing your innovation can prevent mistakes of haste.”
John, along with IMC’s Juan Señor, will co-host FIPP’s new Innovation Forum hosted in London from 26-27 June 2014 (register here). The Innovation Forum builds on five years of research for FIPP’s – the worldwide media association – Innovations in Magazine Media World Report.
In today’s media world, there is a deep need to innovate, and to do so quickly. The Innovations in Magazine Media World Report and Innovation Forum are among FIPP’s tools aimed at assisting magazine media companies in doing so, and to avoid costly – in some cases disastrous – pitfalls along the way.
The new Innovation Forum will bring innovations included in the 2014 edition of the World Report and beyond to life, giving participants the opportunity to immerse themselves in case studies, engage with expert speakers and international peers on opportunities and risks, and get practical take-outs to implement in their planning back home. 
Looking at what’s currently driving innovation in magazine media, John identifies “the ability to target individual readers, deliver relevant content, measure the results and then constantly recalibrate and adjust” as important factors. 
“You can repeat the successful strategies and cease or alter the less successful strategies. Not so long ago, aside from the broad indicator of how many magazines you were selling, strategy was mainly guesswork. Now, with data and analytics, we have far better insight.”
This is not to say instinct does not count for anything anymore, with the intangible “feel” for our products and services still important. “But now data can show us what’s really working. Smart data, along with native advertising, programmatic advertising, smartphones and video and the like are things businesses are really turning to and which are creating so much opportunity.”
More delight for your consumer
In a recent survey of 28 national magazine media associations around the world, representing thousands of magazine media companies, brands and service providers, FIPP found that the magazine media industry have made a clear leap from a print-driven to multi-platform industry.
John sees and ever-exciting time for magazine media. He also points out that innovation is not only about innovations aimed at long-term change, but also about bursts of creativity in building brands on an ongoing basis. 
Creative innovations that intrigue John most “are the ones that successfully blend print and digital.” Here, magazine media will not be ill served to look at their advertising brethren. “Much of the innovation in this area is coming from the advertisers (including through the medium of magazine media).”
Listing several examples, John says, “This is all about finding creative ways to build your brand. You wouldn’t do these things (all the time), but when you do, you are creating excitement, providing a memorable – and often share-able – experience that cements your brand in the mind of your consumer.”
In other words, we are are still in the business of delighting our consumers, but we now have tools and ways to become even better at what magazine media have always done so well. 
John also acknowledges that an innovation can present both opportunity and challenge, citing native advertising/branded content as one such example.
“The content being put out by brands such as Nike, Jaguar and Red Bull is very engaging. And people are much more willing to accept that because if it has value, they don’t care where it comes from. This presents both an opportunity and a threat: advertisers – who previously represented revenue not competition – setting up their own newsrooms and content teams. 
“That’s a threat in two ways: one, because they are looking for good people and they can pay likely more than you can, and two, because they are creating content to rival yours. It’s also an opportunity because they don’t yet have the experience or knowledge of how to create great content and manage its promotion and distribution. So the magazine publishers need to jump in and provide the brands the content marketing solutions they need, but built within the magazine companies’ new native advertising content creation teams.”
Keys to innovation
Hal Gregersen, senior affiliate professor of leadership at INSEAD and co-author of The Innovator’s DNA, told Erica Swallow in an article published online at Forbes, all of us “can learn to flex (our) innovator’s muscles.”
Gregersen and his co-authors boil down the formula of innovation to five pillars:
  • Questioning allows innovators to challenge the status quo and consider new possibilities;
  • Observing helps innovators detect small details – in the activities of customers, suppliers and other companies – to suggest new ways of doing things;
  • Networking permits innovators to gain radically different perspectives from individuals from diverse backgrounds;
  • Experimenting prompts innovators to relentlessly try out new experiences, take things apart and test new ideas; and
  • Associational thinking, which is the drawing of connections among questions, problems or ideas for other fields. This is triggered by questioning, observing, networking and experimenting and is the catalyst for creative ideas.
About FIPP’s Innovation Forum
Those attending FIPP’s Innovation Forum [] will have a front-row seat to a world of innovation, an opportunity to disseminate case studies and engage with and question experts, to network with colleagues from a range of international markets, and among the innovation cases and examples presented by international experts look for ideas and opportunities for their own markets.
The Forum opens with an overview of the most successful innovations in magazine media worldwide in the past year, across eleven categories: smartphones, tablet, print, video, e-commerce, native advertising, programmatic advertising, e-newsletters and mobile-focused publishing, big (smart) data, events and conferences, and social media and video advertising.
Deep-dive sessions into each category follows, with real-life, successful case studies presented by experts from businesses and brands such as Applix, Blippar, Buzzfeed, Elle (Hearst UK), EMAP, Flow (Sanoma), Forbes, Google, Hubert Burda Media, IMC, Meredith, Quartz, Time Out Group, Unruly and Vice, and with more to come. The closing session on day 2 focuses on building a culture of innovation, which as John said above, is a pre-requisite for innovation success.
For more information on the Innovation Forum, contact FIPP’s Claire Jones.

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