Why Innovators must be Pigs

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There is an old riddle: In a bacon-and-egg sandwich, what’s the difference between the Chicken and the Pig? Answer: The Chicken is involved, but the Pig is committed!

This leads us to one of the key, but often unspoken, ingredients of successful innovation: commitment. How committed you or your organisation are to solving a problem or delivering an idea is the key predictor of whether you do or not.

That’s right: not the strength of your idea, quality of your technology, or even size of your wallet – but your level of commitment to actually do it. Innovation is always a bumpy ride, there are always changes to be made and obstacles to overcome. In short, unless you really believe in what you’re doing there will always be a good reason to pull the plug!

Which leaves many businesses with a problem… You – the innovator – may be committed but is your boss? Is the rest of your team? R&D? Finance? The CEO? If not, then you have a problem as at some point along the journey someone is going to say ‘Stop’.

So how can you make sure you’re all in it together? A clue: very few PowerPoint presentations ever engendered real commitment in their audience. Instead find ways to actively involve them from the start and keep them actively involved throughout the innovation process. Get key stakeholders in front of consumers and into the marketplace to experience insights live, not just hear them second hand. Involve them in creative sessions to shape and develop the thinking and ideas, not just sit in judgment later. Use co-creation to get them working with consumers to improve those ideas and figure out what it is that really matters in making the idea a success, not rely on their own intuition.

So make it a new year’s resolution to find ways to turn your stakeholders from involved ‘Chickens’ to committed ‘Pigs’ and help make the innovation journey a success.


Brand Genetics

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