Innovation As A Lifestyle #52 #cong17

Synopsis:

I have lived in six different places over the last two and a half years. Each place was miles apart from the last, gave me a new job each time, and had no friends or colleagues when I got there. This is the personal story of how I’ve turned my mindset to innovation by repeatedly re-creating the definition of home for myself with each new move.

4 Key Takeaways:

  1. Innovation is just as relevant in a personal environment as a professional one
  2. Defining personal development as finding new solutions to each changing situation that arises
  3. Innovation is a mindset that can be chosen and developed
  4. Treat your own life like a continual innovative process and seek out change.

About Kelsey Roberts:

My current role is as a TechInnovate fellow at NUI Galway, a technology innovation programme in which I am conducting research on discovering unmet market needs in agriculture and commercialisation processes for entrepreneurship. In the past I have been in operations for a large healthcare company acting as an engineer, project manager, and team supervisor in a manufacturing setting. My passions include inspiring youth in education and science and driving new innovations to success.

Contacting Kelsey Roberts:

You can connect with Kelsey on LinkedIn.

By Kelsey Roberts.

It all began with an introverted, sentimental, but determined me beginning a job with a big multinational that I knew would require me to move to four different locations for six months each, changing jobs within the company at each new site. The thought of this both scared and excited me, I knew I wasn’t fully comfortable with it and I set out to attempt to increase my personal tolerance for change. I put on some sappy songs on the car stereo and cried throughout the drive leaving my then home, Atlanta, Georgia, and driving away from the closest friends I had made thus far in my life (and fortunately many of whom remain that to this day, even many miles and time zones apart).

My first new home was Columbus, Ohio – a place I knew little about other than the religious-like following of their prized college football team, Ohio State, fresh off the win of a national championship the year before. That excitement aside, it took me months in Ohio to figure out how to not only support a college football team that wasn’t my own, but also find and create friendships within a working life structured with defined hours and business trips. I spent months being lonely and missing Atlanta, but over time I found some groups to fill my time and that void with. I learned how to be content with loneliness and gained the self-awareness to acknowledge that it’s a natural feeling, and I innovated to find coping techniques to deal with it.

Only a few months of finally getting settled in to Ohio and my next move was sprung on me – I was given about four weeks’ notice that I would be moving to Chicago, Illinois. The next challenge to tackle in this move was finding housing. Even though I knew the neighbourhood of the city that I liked, seeking out a stranger to live with was a new experience for me, and made me test out a new skill of quickly analysing a personality over a 10 minute chat and making a decision about something as big as who to live with based on that brief analysis. Over my next months, I re-created a new life for myself by making new friends, discovering a passion for tutoring kids, and even learning from some mistakes that involved a few too many pints (well, the American-sized pints). I had not created the perfect concoction of a life yet – but I felt steps closer in my journey by finding and recognising passions and people that made me happy.

As in any true innovation process, my life was iterated and changed as soon as I began testing out one version of it and I was off to a new place – this time to the small town of Altavista, Virgina, a big change from the urban cities I had previously called home. Altavista is filled with Southern hospitality and strong family values, but when it comes to religious and political standings it has a vastly different environment than I was raised in. Coincidentally, this move came in the fall of 2016, just in time for the gearing up of campaigning for the U.S. Presidential Election. A true fish out of water, my political beliefs differed from most of my colleagues, and this time innovating my life meant finding ways to connect with people when you come from a different background. But, this process grew to feel natural quickly and became incredibly impactful as I formed some of the most inspirational connections of my life here. I also fell in love with the job I had here – another piece of my life that brought the greatest professional challenges I had faced to date, and subsequently gave me the greatest reward through a true sense of fulfilment in mastering new solutions to those challenges each day. The changes I went through in my attitude for empathising with others, my ability to relate to and connect with new people, and the revolution of finding happiness in an unexpected job made this stop in my life a true example of innovation hard at work.

Now leaving Altavista was one of the hardest experiences of my life, a new feeling of being utterly unprepared to move on from a phase but being ripped away regardless. But the innovation of life does not stop and my journey was still ongoing – so I grabbed my passport and headed across the ocean to move to Ireland. Clonmel in Tipperary was the last of my four assignments with this multinational company, and met me with another new job role, new colleagues and friends, and a new side of the road to drive on. After making improvements finding personal hobbies and creating friends through my last three moves, the thought of meeting new people was no longer scary and I was ready to embrace creating a new social life in Ireland. What I honestly didn’t expect was to have my accent recognised for American so instantly (shocking that I thought it would blend in, as I now know). Here, no amount of relating to or connecting with the people and culture would hide my forever obvious accent. I had to restructure my own expectations for my identity, again adapting my innovation process and to meet the needs of this new country and how I saw my life here. At this point the challenge of changing my perspective and strategies to fit a new situation was familiar and ultimately enjoyable and fulfilling. I began seeking out new ways in which I could change my life to continue developing and growing in the fastest way possible.

My sixth and final move that I will share with you today (although by no means final in my life), came when I left the multinational I was working for and changed my career to move to Galway and pursue entrepreneurship and innovation research at NUI Galway. Until sitting down to write this post, I didn’t fully realise how fitting it is that my new work involves studying innovation full-time, when innovation has become the biggest hallmark of my life over the past few years. I could not have gone through as many life changes as I have without adopting a mindset of continual innovation on a personal level, and I would not have developed this mindset in the same way without the repeated changes that my life was thrust into. At this point, making changes has become almost addicting in a way, and I know my life is a journey ripe for innovation at every corner. I’ve learned countless new skills and developed my personality along the way, but the greatest way in which I have adapted is simply by embracing innovation as a lifestyle and all the challenges and thrills that come along with that. Here’s to the next changes we will all make in our lives, both big and small, and to keeping the mindset that life is meant to always be innovated!

Bridging the Gap Between Communication and Connection #53 #cong17

Synopsis:

In the “new media” era, it has never been more important for companies to constantly innovate in how they communicate with their online communities.

The ever-increasing range of platforms create an incredible opportunity for brands to connect with their audiences in new, creative and engaging ways.

However, the era also brings countless challenges as companies must always be ready to adapt to the new ways in which consumers access and process content, whether it be through language, visuals or a combination of the two.

At bonkers.ie, which was founded in 2010, we have been at the frontline of the ever-changing face of online communications and have had to constantly innovate in order to deliver our message to audiences in ways that will add most value to them.

4 Key Takeaways:

  1. Social media marketing communication is a two way street, be open for engagement with your community, be it inquisitive, positive or critical.
  2. Language is fluid and changeable, don’t be afraid to play around with new ways of communicating your message in your copy.
  3. Technology moves at breakneck speed, to keep ahead of the curve, constant maintenance is required. Don’t assume that community management methods you put in place a year or even 6 months ago are still relevant.
  4. Adapt your messaging to suit the format/channel/platform you’re using. Understand the environment in which your marketing messages are going to be consumed.

About Robyn Hamilton:

Robyn Hamilton works as a copywriter and online content creator for comparison switching site, bonkers.ie. She developed her interest in content marketing while pursuing her Master’s Degree In Advertising at the Dublin Institute of Technology. Before that, she completed a Bachelor of Arts in Film Studies and French at Trinity College Dublin.

Contacting Robyn Hamilton:

You can follow Robyn on Twitter or email her.

By Robyn Hamilton.

The impact of digitalisation on the craft of copywriting

Back in 2016, I researched and wrote my Master’s dissertation exploring the impact of digital on the craft of copywriting in marketing communications. Fast forward a year and a half, and I find that many of the resulting insights from my study are having a direct impact on the work I’m currently carrying out in the communications department of personal finance website, bonkers.ie.

In pre-digital days, the copywriter’s primary role was to write marketing copy that engaged the consumer’s attention in a creative way, to leave a lasting and memorable impression – and preferably drive an action. These remain the core duties of a good copywriter but the role now also entails a whole host of other skills. It’s no longer just about the ability to write creatively; nowadays to write effective copy that engages, encourages and enables sharing, the copywriter has to consider communication objectives, online platforms, digital devices, keywords, plus social media formats, and data analytics in addition to being able to write to entertain and inform. And let’s not forget that everything now also needs to be done in half the time or less – digitalisation has dramatically sped up every part of the marketing communication process; including research, production, processing and dissemination.

New media means new ways of communicating

The introduction and mass proliferation of a new kind of interactive marketing communication model, made possible by the rise of social media networks, means that marketing messages are now a two-way street. Interactivity between brand and consumer means tone of voice and the ability to communicate ‘with’ rather than ‘at’ the consumer is key. Copy needs to be less imperative and more conversational, friendly and approachable in tone. In other words, it needs to speak in the vernacular of its various audiences and be open to response and dialogue.

We are well and truly past the birth of the digital era, but there can be a lag in implementing new theories and models of communication to effective use, especially considering the light-speed at which technology is progressing when it comes to online marketing messaging. This, indeed, is where innovation is required.

Implementation in action at bonkers.ie

Hired as a copywriter and online content creator for bonkers.ie back in March of this year, I am very proud to have played a key role in the ongoing development and innovation of our online communications strategy, with a particular focus on social media.

When I began working for bonkers.ie, there were a number of elements to our communications strategy that remained constant and had been so for some time. Between the members of our team, we aimed to write and publish at least one post to our company blog per day. Said post would then be circulated on our primary social media channels including Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus and Twitter. We would then respond to any questions or comments made on those posts. Once a week we would host a live round-up video on Facebook, summarising the main news in personal finance for that week. Finally, once a month we would send out an email newsletter to a list of subscribers, rounding up the month’s news, including relevant links to blog posts written throughout the month.

These were our three main methods of community management and communication, and though effective in their own right, like any ongoing process, they warranted continued monitoring and development to work towards a goal of amelioration.

We knew that our content was adding value in the short-term (when the content was published), but we began to consider ways to build long-lasting relationships through ongoing interaction and engagement. We were very focused on volume output and not enough on community engagement to ensure that our messages were being heard and engaged with; in other words we were talking ‘at’, but now it was time to talk ‘with’ the consumer, as discussed earlier.

Developing a new tone of voice

Noting this, we decided to overhaul how we approached our communications, with a particular focus on social media. In terms of copy, the first thing we decided to change significantly was the company’s tone of voice. Up until this point we had endeavoured to sound authoritative, informative but friendly and fairly approachable. With our primary goal to increase community engagement, we decided to adopt a more familiar and conversational to encourage interaction. Consequently, in addition to familiarising our language with colloquialisms and occasional slang, we began capitalising more on topical hashtags, as well as using popular emoji shorthand or gif reactions where relevant or appropriate. In conjunction with this move, we began to invest a lot more time interacting with customers in comments sections, via retweets and in direct/private messages.

Adapting content to new environments

With a new video production assistant joining the team in August, we also began looking into ways to innovate and dramatically improve our video output. Taking into account today’s average newsfeed, cluttered as it is with videos all demanding attention, we moved focus away from long live videos and towards shorter, pre-recorded, edited and overall better produced segments. Many of these pieces are more ‘evergreen’ and less topical in nature, and consequently have a longer shelf life in terms of relevance to our customers. To maximise views and engagement we also adapted video output formats; opting for a square portrait view (as opposed to landscape) for Facebook videos, which makes videos easier to view on smartphone screens and also adding subtitles to all videos, taking into account that the majority of videos watched on social media are watched with the sound off.

The results 

So, you must be wondering? Did all, and does all of this ongoing innovation have a significant impact? Well let’s take a look at some examples. Below you can view a snapshot of our Twitter analytics for the month of October 2016 as compared to October 2017, which more or less speak for themselves:

Despite the fact that the volume output of tweets did not largely change; impressions, profile visits, mentions and new followers dramatically increased. In the two further examples below we’ve taken our top tweet from October 2016 and our top tweet from the same month the following year. These examples demonstrate perfectly the contrast between our old strategy and the new one.

In the 2016 example, the language used is friendly but somewhat formal in nature, lacking personality and the tweet itself is fairly functional. In the 2017 example, we have utilised a few of examples discussed earlier. First of all, we capitalised on a trending hashtag of the day #Ophelia, which of course referenced hurricane Ophelia which was battering the country that day. The tone is familiar and somewhat cheeky, utilising emojis to suggest that people use their downtown at home sheltering from the storm to switch their gas and electricity and consequently drive traffic towards our website.

Conclusion

When I began pursuing a career in copywriting and content marketing, I didn’t anticipate just how much innovation goes into the daily upkeep to stay ahead of the curve outside of the ideation process for content creation but I can’t deny that I relish the opportunity to greet new challenges every day. I can’t wait to see what’s around the next corner.

We Make Pesto, Not iPhones! #60 #cong17

Synopsis:

Enterprise support agencies regularly struggle to connect start-ups and small businesses with the range of supports available to de-risk the innovation process. Although by definition most small businesses are intrinsically innovative, most of them don’t perceive that to be the case. What does this mean in the context of driving a culture of innovation?

4 Key Takeaways:

  1. There are significant supports available in Ireland to support the innovation process. From the Local Enterprise Office to Enterprise Ireland to SFI, etc.
  2. Many enterprise support agencies report low levels of take up of these innovation supports.
  3. These agencies need to work harder to ensure they find a language that connects with micro enterprises.
  4. There is massive potential associated with plugging the disconnect between the guy who makes pesto and Horizon 2020.

About John Magee:

John Magee is Acting Head of Enterprise, Local Enterprise Office (LEO) Mayo. The LEO is the first stop shop for enterprise support targeted at micro businesses. The LEO is part of Mayo County Council and plays a key role in promoting enterprise development and a culture of entrepreneurship at the local level.

Mayo County Council under the Mayo.ie channel is delighted to be able to support Congregation and we’re thrilled to welcome attendees to beautiful Co Mayo, the Heartbeat of the Wild Atlantic Way. Via a wide range of programmes and initiatives we are working hard to position Mayo as a location for investment, world class business development and as place where ideas are explored and celebrated.

Contacting John Magee:

You can contact John by email or conenct with him on Twitter.

By John Magee.

Why is it so difficult to connect start-ups & small businesses with the extensive range of supports available from the state to support product innovation?

As someone who works in the enterprise support arena, this is a question I regularly struggle with. Although it is often the case that the default thought process for many starting out in business is “sure there is no help available”, the truth is quite different. Ireland Inc has an excellent start-up support infrastructure, with over 170 different supports available to business, many of them aiming to de-risk the innovation process for early stage businesses. But the take up on many of these is quite low. Why is this? Why is there such a disconnect between available support and take up?

There is no easy, or single, answer to this. I think it has something to do with a fundamental misunderstanding of what innovation looks and feels like and a perception that innovation is an activity reserved for ‘big’ businesses or those in specific sectors. When the pesto manufacturer pointed out to me that he wasn’t making iPhones he was reflecting his view that innovation wasn’t at the forefront of his thought process. Having talked through his own approach to manufacturing a high quality product he accepted that there may be a few things he did that set his product apart from others in the marketplace and yes, he did have some further ideas that could benefit from technical support. Yes, his product tasted better because it was prepared differently. But innovation? Well that was a grudging acceptance.

So, partly it is a failure to recognise the basic simplicity of innovation. It isn’t about a new gadget, nor about adding a new feature to an existing one. It is often about taking features out… making things simpler.  My pesto friend was creating a better customer experience by simplifying the product – real innovation.

This experience is in no way unusual. Try getting the small business community to attend a seminar or workshop on innovation. It’s a proper struggle. The real paradox here is that for most small companies they must be intrinsically innovative in order to get any significant traction in the marketplace in the first instance. Otherwise they’ll immediately come up against a better resourced or longer established incumbent. The disconnect, therefore, must relate to their own perception or understanding of their activity, relative to their perception of what constitutes innovation. Effectively they simply don’t think of themselves as being in the innovation arena.

A follow on question is therefore whether this inhibits the cultivation of a genuine culture of innovation in small business. If so many business owners instinctively recoil from viewing their activity as being innovative, then how can we expect them to invest in innovation or seek innovation support as they become established? How can we expect them to seek support to develop the next iteration, simplification or new product?

Or does it actually matter at all? Ireland ranks in the top 10 countries in the world in the Global Entrepreneurship Index, so we’re getting a lot right. Our small business sector remains the main engine behind new job creation nationally. It remains the case that micro enterprises actually have an innovation advantage in that they’re more nimble, flexible and innovative by definition.

We should also remember that start-ups and small businesses are not the same thing. Innovation is more intrinsic for a start-up, but not necessarily a more established small business. Start-ups might be more open to the various supports available, but for a variety of reasons they might not have the financial capacity, energy or operating ‘space’ to allow them to access innovation supports, whether training or programmatic. Proper targeting of supports is therefore essential.

It seems that in terms of supporting micro enterprises there is a constant need to demystify innovation, how it works and how it can be developed and supported. An integral element is to the consider whether the professional working in the enterprise support space truly understands innovation and its related dynamics. If these professionals struggle with the concept, then they’re poorly placed to positon and sell the range of innovation supports available. Perhaps greater emphasis needs to be placed on the advertising / packaging / explanation of innovation supports.

Given the various areas where the disconnect can and does occur… it’s hard to escape the simple realisation that many small businesses are more innovative than we all realise. It is also hard to avoid thinking of what might be achieved if we could plug the gaps and align supports with perceptions and invent a language around innovation that fosters greater business and agency engagement!

My friend who makes pesto… he is at the cutting edge of innovation. For him. And that’s all that matters really.

What Are You Doing on Monday? #61 #cong17

Synopsis:

Here’s a lesson I took from a funny and apocryphal experience I had when looking for my car in an underground car park recently relating to one of the great challenges faced by modern marketers today – how to win visibility and interest from audiences who are paying less and less attention to most everything. Learn why it’s vital that marketers think and get more personal from here on out.

4 Key Takeaways:

  1. Winning attention is guaranteed to get harder and harder in the wake of suffocating levels of information overload – fueled by incessant, explosive growth in online noise that can only become worse
  2. Adopting a mostly offline or mostly online marketing communications strategy won’t cut it if you need to grow visibility and excitement for/about you, your ideas or your business in 2018. You need to combine the best of both.
  3.  You need to ditch broadcast communications and to think and get more personal to connect with target audiences today. Remember the maxim: Specific pays and general gets ignored.
  4. You’ll achieve faster and better results if you can adopt approaches that allow you to grow relationships one by one. What may appear to be a long way home is actually the fastest!

About Eamonn O’Brien:

Eamonn O’Brien is one of Europe’s leading authorities on business storytelling and the founder of The Reluctant Speakers Club – where he helps leaders to conquer their fears of speaking and to speak memorably, live and to camera.

He’s also a recent President of Professional Speaking Association Ireland and the author of the book ‘How to Make Powerful Speeches’. And his podcast is included in the Top 100 Small Business Podcasts by Small Business Trends and he is a co-founder of both the international 7-Day Video Challenge and GoDoVideo.

Contacting Eamonn O’Brien:

You can follow Eamonn on Twitter, connect with him on Facebook and LinkedIn, see his thoughts on YouTube or email him.

So I had a peculiar and unexpected conversation recently.

While humming distractedly, groceries in hand and plugged into my smartphone in an underground car park of a local Lidl supermarket, someone tapped me on the shoulder.

What are you doing on Monday evening?

Asked a stranger – a woman I was fairly sure I didn’t know.

We need men!

she continued and grinned a huge grin.

The quirkiness and brassiness of her question made me laugh out loud.

What?

I said, in feigned surprise

I heard you singing

she said.

Nice voice! I run a local choir and I just want you to know that we’re in desperate need of men…who can sing, that is!

Well that’s a new line of marketing” I suggested. “As chat up lines go, that’s a new one! Out of blind curiosity, do you make it a habit to approach random men your find humming in car parks?

And then – after a giant belly laugh – she said something that struck a chord with me at 2 levels.

It’s odd, I know. But, truth is, it’s ridiculously hard to get attention from people these days. No one reads notices anymore and we can’t afford to send out fliers. So, if you don’t try a personal approach, you’d never get new members. It’s just a sign of the times!

Firstly, after hearing more about her choir (which actually sounded really good) I decided that I’m mighty tempted to try it out in the New Year. So her direct approach may have been a really good tack.

And secondly, she’s 100% right. It has become harder to recruit new people to do most anything today via traditional means.

In fact, as I thought about what she said, I mused that I can’t remember the last time I read or responded to a notice in a newsagent, local library or even a local paper.

And, if I were a betting man (and I’m not), I’m guessing you’d likely to say the same thing?

Rather, if you were looking for information, would it be fair to say that the first thing you’d be inclined to do would be to look online?

Probably? And, assuming that’s true (as it is for most folks)…

…Therein lies the elephant in the room – the huge snag that it has become ridiculously difficult to win attention online in the face of:

  1. Online audiences who have long since reached a saturation point regarding how much content they can or will consume
  2. Tsunami after tsunami of content added day after day online on most every topic – increasing the chances (as mentioned in a recent podcast by Mark Schaefer and Tom Webster) that even awesome content will go unseen or unheard
  3. Attention spans that have fallen to seconds versus minutes

So, what’s a body to do if you still need attention or visibility without spending hand over fist? Here’s my take:

Move away from most marketing tactics that rely on one to many broadcasts and think instead of how you can create real, personal and meaningful conversations, one person at a time.

As you think about this, realise that this will likely require you to find ways to lead with more face-to-face forms of communications with your target audiences that you back up/supplement with online communications versus vice-versa. You’re far more likely to win connection and emotional engagement that way.

And remember, to quote an international social media marketing expert pal of mine in the UK Amanda Brown:

Face to face is the ultimate in social media

I couldn’t agree more and believe these are words to live by for every marketer as you plan for 2018 and beyond.

The more personally driven communications are, the more likely you are to encourage meaningful and valued conversations, cultivate relationships and become more trusted.

And that’s a winning formula for a Monday or any other day of the week!

Is Innovation good for humanity? #63 #cong17

Synopsis:

As two entrepreneurial minded females who have both tried and failed to launch “innovative” products within the IT and Waste Management sectors we have reached a number of conclusions on the nature of Innovation.  The stark realities and the requisite graft involved in launching a start-up are presented with a jaundiced eye and a humorous tone.

4 Key Takeaways:

  1. Innovation as a disrupter is not always a good thing.
  2. Launching a start-up is extremely hard work.
  3. Government funding is like the Holy Grail.
  4. Finally, a tongue in cheek alignment of Innovation with Religion

About Emma Commerford and Lorraine Ni Fhloinn:

We are two women with many years experience within the IT industry who (despite their combined experiences) are still attempting to get some really good products to market.

Contacting Emma Commerford:

You can contact Emma by email

By Emma Commerford and Lorraine Ni Fhloinn.

The word innovation is attached to all new products as a descriptor. If you do not include the word in marketing collateral for your new product you will be admonished by a cadre of experts and barraged with an arsenal of vague and confusing roadmaps for “innovation”.

Many “innovative” products are lauded as DISRUPTERS. The aim is to smash up existing delivery methods, destroy them completely, and replace them with some new “innovative” service.  For example Uber was lauded as the darling of tech disruption but in reality it has destroyed the yellow cab industry in New York City.

Is this a good thing?

Initially it appears to be good for consumers. A convenient car service, which you can manage from a smartphone. But is UBER really all that different from hailing a yellow cab, or calling a private car using your actual human voice?

No, it isn’t.

Consumers always had an easy and fast way to get private transportation from A to B. Providing consumers with a new way to call a car (via an app) has resulted in the destruction of family businesses and jobs. These jobs have been replaced by tenuous positions at a company that prides itself on DISRUPTING, is known to have a toxic and predatory work environment, and only cares about share prices. In essence many small businesses have been blown out of the water by this behemoth, and the behemoth has taken their labor and capitalised on it, while providing no job security, benefits, and offering no loyalty of any kind. This destruction is lauded as innovative and exciting but it just another hostile takeover of an industry by one faceless corporation who cares little for consumers or employees.

Maybe you have no time for Marxist theories of capitalism or indeed depressing rants of any kind as you are too busy coming up with fantastic, unique, exciting, state-of-the-art products or services?  Mostly ones that solve global problems and will make the world a better place (take that you dreary Leninites). So far so ground breaking, as luck would have it the entire world and their cup-cake baking Mammies are launching start-ups.  So in order to jump on the entrepreneurial gravy train all you have to do is the following:

Work all morning, right through noon and for most of the night trying to do one of the following:

a. design, develop, test and debug software or pay / exploit someone in a developing country to do it for you (spoiler alert you will be old and grey and spoon fed by robots long before you have even communicated your high level requirements to them)

b. design, prototype, test and “tweak” a physical product for approximately 3 years before you realise that the cost of making the moulds is akin to the GDP of the country where your developers currently reside (see previous brilliant idea).

c.  Do whatever people do who invent medical devices which to the best of the authors knowledge involves wrapping miniature bicycle parts in a balloon prior to insertion into an actual person

In your spare time you will be doing all of the following:

Constantly self publicising on a multitude of online platforms involving:

  1. writing blogs for no material gain
  2. making vlogs for no material gain – the justification and term used is to give yourself exposure – in a world of Harvey Weinsteins what does that even mean?
  3. Harassing friends and family to like all of the above
  4. Making predictions on future earnings that are nonsensical but necessitate hours pouring over excel spreadsheets like a numeric Mystic Meg
  5. Committing to hiring 10 people in 3 years or 8 people in 2 years (insert appropriate number and timeline) to get government funding, proving that you will contribute to the reduction of the figures on the live register thereby making them look good.  In actual fact you are constantly being urged to seek out and hire experts in Marketing, Sales, Finance etc.  the last time I was in my local DSP office the number of CFOs and executive directors hanging around looking for a CE scheme was relatively low.
  6. Making sure your new company has a tone, a brand, an amazing functioning website and actual sales before you are deemed worthy of funding or support – Innovation Catch 22 alert You Will Only Ever Get THE MONEY Once You Dont Need It
  7. Being a complete expert on every area of running a business although you have no training, background or experience in any of these areas
  8. Juggling the paranoic “dont tell anyone your idea, they will immediately steal it and make milliions” with the “put yourself out there or it will never happen”, usually after roughly 5 years trying to make the Herculean leap from Idea to Start Up to Profitable Business you would quite happily just give it away so that somebody somewhere may benefit from your original idea (which you can’t even remember anymore anyway).
  9. Attending every start-up junket and innovation event in order to network and make contacts, the depressing fact is that these events are not attended by angel investors brandishing their bulging cheque books just waiting to be charmed by your idea/smile/crappy wordpress site but and here is the thing, they are full of people like you desperately looking for help, advice and a way of making the last of their life savings stretch for just one more month.
  10. Watching the inspirational, cult like musings of internet personalities who are so successful that they no longer need any syllables in their names being instantly recognisable as just Z or V or B.

Like all religious concepts “innovation” and what it represents today is impossible to describe but it is greeted with fervor and lack of doubt. It has sprung up it’s own priests and priestesses who give sermons on it’s value, and produce books to recruit us. Humanity does not need to have it’s own creativity and natural ability for problem solving explained. The innovation movement is the modern equivalent of snake oil being sold by shysters.