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A grumpy old man at Silicon Beach, 25 September 2015
@jeremyet
@bbhlabs
THE NINE NOs OF INNOVATION
It’s great to see so ma...
I WASN’T ALWAYS A GRUMPY OLD MAN...
At Penguin Books I saw amazon launch and ran into the MD’s office giddy with excitemen...
I WASN’T ALWAYS A GRUMPY OLD MAN/Pt2
And even when I moved into advertising I didn’t lose my enthusiasm for new ideas, dev...
THIS IS WHAT INNOVATION TYPES ARE MEANT TO LOOK LIKE…
So, Innovation types are generally optimists. Innovation types gener...
BUT PEER INTO THEIR SOULS...
But in the development of every project and in every organisation it's important to have a ga...
THE NINE
NOs OF
INNOVATION
Since I am cruising into my grumpy old man period, I fairly regularly find myself being the ‘no...
No 1 – NO HOLOGRAMS
It's true that there is nothing shinier than a hologram - look at all the colours and how it's just th...
Unless…
No 2 - NO (holographic) DUETS WITH DEAD PERFORMERS
Holograms and dead celebrities brought back to life to duet with Pharre...
No 3 - NoSTALGIA
Innovationismists are meant to be forward looking, trend watching and future facing. And this is all well...
3) nostalgia (rear view
‘We drive into the future using only our rear
view mirror’
Marshall McLuhan
‘We drive into the fut...
No 4 – NO CRYSTAL BALLS
Futurology is an important tool for marketers. Hypothesizing about what 2020 will look like is bot...
Most of the time we’re making things for today, to be launched within the next 12 months and while we can dream of an infi...
And also…
Nos 5, 6 & 7 - NoBODY KNoWS NoTHING
If I had asked
people what
they wanted,
they’d
have said
faster horses
“
Henry Ford
Ps...
Nos 5, 6 & 7 - NoBODY KNoWS NoTHING
Apple are
making an
MP3 player?
It’ll never
catch on
“
Jeremy Ettinghausen,
2001
robot...
Nos 5, 6 & 7 - NoBODY KNoWS NoTHING
A smart cup
to track
everything
you drink?
It’ll never
catch on
“
Jeremy Ettinghausen,...
No 8 - NoVELTY
Everyone loves ‘New!’ … it’s the second most powerful word in marketing. I often think that Wile Coyote wou...
No 8 - NoVELTY
FROM DISPOSABLE
NOVELTY
TO PURPOSEFUL
INNOVATION
There are two definitions of novelty. It can be the state ...
No HOLOGRAMS
No (HOLOGRAPHIC) DUETS WITH DEAD CELEBRITIES
NoSTALGIA
No CRYSTAL BALLS
NoBODY KNoWS NoTHING
NoVELTY
No CYNIC...
No 9 – NO CYNICISM
I recently read a wonderful piece by a developer called Maciej Ceglowski - it’s called ‘Web Design - th...
@jeremyet/@bbhlabs
Thank you
Innovation should be joyous and liberating and optimistic about the potential of strategy and...
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The Nine Nos of Innovation

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Slides from a talk at Silicon Beach, Bournemouth, Sept 2015

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The Nine Nos of Innovation

  1. 1. A grumpy old man at Silicon Beach, 25 September 2015 @jeremyet @bbhlabs THE NINE NOs OF INNOVATION It’s great to see so many young people here today, so much enthusiasm and positivity. I used to be like you.
  2. 2. I WASN’T ALWAYS A GRUMPY OLD MAN... At Penguin Books I saw amazon launch and ran into the MD’s office giddy with excitement. Later I did other projects such as taking Penguin into second life and creating the first wikinovel.
  3. 3. I WASN’T ALWAYS A GRUMPY OLD MAN/Pt2 And even when I moved into advertising I didn’t lose my enthusiasm for new ideas, developing projects like robotify.me and a bitcoin experiment.
  4. 4. THIS IS WHAT INNOVATION TYPES ARE MEANT TO LOOK LIKE… So, Innovation types are generally optimists. Innovation types generally believe that new and shiny trumps tried and tested. We're the people who are meant to say "Yes!" to everything; Yes!, let's try that. Yes!, let's see if we can break it. Yes!, let's fail faster, better, triumphantly!
  5. 5. BUT PEER INTO THEIR SOULS... But in the development of every project and in every organisation it's important to have a gatekeeper, someone whose job it is to say 'no' now and again. No to an extra feature, no to a new app, no to novelty for the sake of novelty, no to yet another attempt to shoehorn Pharrell into an activation plan. The 'no' guy is rarely the most popular character in the room, but his (or hers) is a necessary presence.
  6. 6. THE NINE NOs OF INNOVATION Since I am cruising into my grumpy old man period, I fairly regularly find myself being the ‘no’ guy, the fella who puts the 'no' in innovation. So, here are, in no particular order, my personal, prejudiced and pejorative Nine NOs of Innovation.
  7. 7. No 1 – NO HOLOGRAMS It's true that there is nothing shinier than a hologram - look at all the colours and how it's just there! And not there! But since you're never going to be able to do anything more epic with a hologram then tell Obi-Wan that he’s your only hope, you might as well not try.
  8. 8. Unless…
  9. 9. No 2 - NO (holographic) DUETS WITH DEAD PERFORMERS Holograms and dead celebrities brought back to life to duet with Pharrell go together like cheese and burgers and in my previous role as a creative director I had this concept presented to me at least twice a year, though for the first couple of years the 'live celebrity' was always JayZ. Basically, using holograms or other techniques to pair the living with the departed, screams of a desire to show off craft skills rather than demonstrate understanding of consumer need. ‘How the hell did they do that?’ is a question that should only be asked of magicians.
  10. 10. No 3 - NoSTALGIA Innovationismists are meant to be forward looking, trend watching and future facing. And this is all well and good except for the fact that as humans we are far more comfortable with the past than we are with the future. The success of nostalgia apps and services like timehop and instagram shows that a connection with our yesterdays owns a poignancy that connection with our tomorrows can never hope to possess.
  11. 11. 3) nostalgia (rear view ‘We drive into the future using only our rear view mirror’ Marshall McLuhan ‘We drive into the future using only our rear view mirror’ Marshall McLuhan So, to bowdlerize McLuhan, feel free to speed off into the future, but don't forget to keep an eye on the rear view mirror.
  12. 12. No 4 – NO CRYSTAL BALLS Futurology is an important tool for marketers. Hypothesizing about what 2020 will look like is both a fun dinner party game and and important task when partnering with clients who are making big bets about the future behaviours of their consumers and the future growth of their businesses. But looking too deeply into the crystal ball risks ignoring all the interesting, quirky, relevant things that are happening today. The outlier technologies, the edge case uses, the new behaviours that audiences are learning.
  13. 13. Most of the time we’re making things for today, to be launched within the next 12 months and while we can dream of an infinite shelflife for our products and services and communications, they will at some point in the near or distant future, evolve or die. So relish the now, make things that people will use and enjoy and share today, not in a hypothetical future that might never happen.
  14. 14. And also…
  15. 15. Nos 5, 6 & 7 - NoBODY KNoWS NoTHING If I had asked people what they wanted, they’d have said faster horses “ Henry Ford Psst, wanna invest in a startup that matches people who own airbeds with travelers who can’t afford a hotel room? No? Well you’re not alone. A dozen big name VCs passed up on airbnb.
  16. 16. Nos 5, 6 & 7 - NoBODY KNoWS NoTHING Apple are making an MP3 player? It’ll never catch on “ Jeremy Ettinghausen, 2001 robotify & bitcoin
  17. 17. Nos 5, 6 & 7 - NoBODY KNoWS NoTHING A smart cup to track everything you drink? It’ll never catch on “ Jeremy Ettinghausen, 2015 How about taking a stake in a smart cup that tells you what’s in it, after you’ve poured what’s in it into it? Yeah, that one got $3million. And they say that Hollywood is the town where Nobody Knows Anything...
  18. 18. No 8 - NoVELTY Everyone loves ‘New!’ … it’s the second most powerful word in marketing. I often think that Wile Coyote would have been a great Innovation Director, apart from the high failure rate. He is always optimistic about the promise of new technology, a new scheme, a new process to help him achieve his goals…
  19. 19. No 8 - NoVELTY FROM DISPOSABLE NOVELTY TO PURPOSEFUL INNOVATION There are two definitions of novelty. It can be the state of being new, different or unusual. Novelty can also also be something cheap that provides fleeting amusement. Innovation should be original and different, but should have a purpose greater than fleeting amusement. Social benefit, sustained growth, market disruption - these are all good purposes. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a place in life for fleeting amusement and definitely a place for it in advertising, but innovation without purpose is the wrong sort of novelty and deserves a big ‘NO!’.
  20. 20. No HOLOGRAMS No (HOLOGRAPHIC) DUETS WITH DEAD CELEBRITIES NoSTALGIA No CRYSTAL BALLS NoBODY KNoWS NoTHING NoVELTY No CYNICISM The Previous 8 Nos do reveal perhaps a jaded, misanthropic mindset quite opposed with the sunny optimism required from an innovation practitioner (and who, reading this, wouldn’t consider themselves an innovation practitioner?). So one item of balance to even things out.
  21. 21. No 9 – NO CYNICISM I recently read a wonderful piece by a developer called Maciej Ceglowski - it’s called ‘Web Design - the first 100 years’ - look it up. Almost everything he says can apply as well to the marketing or digital or innovation communities as it does to web designers. His boldest assertion is that the web of 2060 will look pretty much like the web of today - a good thing he argues. And it’s a good thing because today’s web does some pretty amazing things; it allows fascinating connections between people and products and brands and cats; it puts all human knowledge and entertainment at our fingertips. And it’s a wonderful place for anyone with a desire to try something new, do something different or simply observe the fresh and shiny to explore and play and make in.
  22. 22. @jeremyet/@bbhlabs Thank you Innovation should be joyous and liberating and optimistic about the potential of strategy and ingenuity and creativity and technology to make a positive impact on people’s experiences and lives. Even cynics should say yes to innovation with purpose, every now and again.

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