Many people talk about product innovation, but few develop a full understanding of what innovation really means or what it takes to build an innovation culture and new solution engine. There are four fundamentals that must be in place for a truly innovative company:
- A profound understanding of the customers to be served, and unmet or poorly-met needs of those customers,
- A process for creating compelling solution ideas to meet those needs,
- A process for prioritizing, selecting, and funding the most promising solution ideas, and
- A development capability that rapidly turns the selected ideas into competitive products or solutions.
by Andy McCaskey, Principal
Few aspects of business communications are changing as rapidly as the in-person tradeshow event. Recent trends in technology can amplify or eliminate the competitive advantage that a heavy trade show investment provided just a few years ago. [Reference]
Here are some tips on techniques and equipment that we recently deployed while providing New Media style coverage of a very large industry trade show event, along with some things to think about that will spark ideas for your next live trade show event.
The impact of connected mobile devices around the world has greatly increased the expectations of would-be trade show attendees and exhibitors alike. Advances in wireless networks with the new broadband wireless standards, powerful tablets and ubiquitous smartphone availability offer your company opportunities to involve more people with your product in its best light over a longer period of time. For a powerful combination, split your team into two groups - one at the trade event and the other in their normal home office locations, but still dedicated to the event.
Once you have added New Media to your marketing program, or perhaps used it with internal audiences for training or management information, the next step might seem to be adding video. But don’t be too hasty. What's needed is some careful thought about your marketing and communications goals, and an evaluation of your overall social media marketing program. Make sure you have the bases covered with content other than video before you make the leap.
Remember that the overall goal is to focus your efforts around using social media promotional tools to reach an involved community, creating and distributing good content. You might incidentally mention your product and services, but you must insure that your content offers value to that community and fits within the overall conversation within your industry. Adding video to your content mix is not an automatic road to higher engagement. It could be a fast track to over-reaching expectations, expense, and frustration.
If you've structured your program correctly, you are already off to a slow yet dependable start. You are publishing regularly, often enough to get noticed (weekly or bi-weekly), in a format and length that begins to allow an audience to build around your offering. Blog posts, infographics, PDF White Papers, app notes and ebooks are all forms of content that can be cross-promoted. Audio podcasts need to be delivered within a stream of other types of content that are of interest or value, and video content will need to complement that content and fit within your overall communications plan.
by Andy McCaskey, Principal
With all of the social media tools at your fingertips, your next challenge is creating and distributing good content about your product and service. A good place to start as you move beyond basic blog posts and photos is to add audio to your content mix, and then promote it with your social media tools.
New Media audio is not just podcasting, but so many people have become accustomed to that term from its traditional media adoption that it's a useful concept. Podcasting is a form of distribution that burst onto the scene in late 2004 due to the convergence of several factors, including the Apple iPod portable music player (replicated but never equaled by scores of competitors), the rapid rise of broadband penetration, and recognition that distribution of audio content could be automated and attached to popular blogging platforms, notably Wordpress. Most potential listeners still had poor connectivity, so the process of alerting a subscriber's computer to new content, slowly downloading overnight to the computer hard drive and then pushing to a portable player was a clever solution to the needs of the time. Apple iTunes quickly became the standard “podcatcher” on both Windows and Apple computers, performing the function automatically once a listener subscribed a podcast.
We are fast approaching the state that connects almost anyone on the planet via the internet, now under its most recent moniker, “Social Media”. Understanding a bit about the relative position of Social Media in the world of New Media can offer an executive a deeper understanding of the changing landscape and help channel its flash, sizzle and current “trendiness” into useful business goals such as setting strategy, anticipating and mitigating risk, product development, and competitive awareness.
We define New Media as informal content, distributed via the internet, and produced and consumed by both internal and external audiences. Social Media (Somed) is both a subset of this definition and a distribution channel for New Media content.
If you have not given executive thought to trends in media and entertainment, that oversight might be a mistake. Video and audio production and distribution are radically changing as devices and consumer tastes undergo both revolutionary and evolutionary change. Monitoring and controlling how these new forms of information flow affect your brand is essential.
We are talking about “New Media”, defined as informal content that is being increasingly produced and consumed by both external and internal audiences either on-duty or off-duty. The term characterizes access to the river of information that flows around us in both professional and entertainment streams outside of traditional media channels such as trade press, radio and television.
Created on anything from new low-cost professional gear to tablet or smartphone, New Media augments and in some cases replaces traditional communications content and channels. Generational lines and preferences blur the lines between personal vs. enterprise information and professional vs. entertainment streams, while the “Bring Your Own Device” terminal flexibly displays content interchangeably in both roles.
by: Scott S. Elliott, Principal and Founder
In technology business, if you want to communicate clearly and collaborate fully, then you have to meet with your collaborators face-to-face, right? Well. . .maybe not anymore. Today's internet and telecom collaboration tools can be extremely effective in allowing technical and business collaboration - and even offer some advantages over face-to-face meetings.
We have all been victims of the "normal" group teleconference meeting. It goes like this: One group gathers in a conference room with a speaker phone and perhaps a PC projector. Another group assembles in a second, distant conference room - also with a speaker phone. Several members call in from their home offices or a hotel or an airport. At least one person is calling from a mobile phone while driving.
These meetings leave much to be desired. The people that are not in the primary conference room are second-class citizens. They cannot hear very well - especially those people with low voices away from the microphone - they cannot see the body language, the slides, what is being written on white boards, or who is doing his email or sleeping. How can we expect to get their brightest thoughts and ideas? These experiences are what make people feel that they have to travel to meet face-to-face to get real work done.
PCs and personal internet tools now make it possible to have a much better and richer experience, from one-on-one to many-on-many meetings and collaborations. Here is how:
One problem seen by many growing technology companies is that managers are involved in decision making at all levels. This phenomenon is sometimes called “micromanagement”. It creates stress on both managers and workers and leads to a lack of agility as an organization. Micromanagement is a symptom of a lack of empowerment. Such a lack limits the ability of a company to make full use of the talent and energy of its workers.
Empowerment is a management and organizational style that enables people to practice autonomy, control their own jobs, and use the full sets of their skills and abilities to benefit the organization. Empowering people allows leaders to spend more of their time on important, higher-priority tasks, and facilitates faster and better decision making throughout the company.
To be empowered, a worker must have four attributes: the authority, the responsibility, the capability and the resources to control and execute his/her job.