In the workshop I ran at the W.I.N. Conference in Paris early October 2010, one of my key messages was: innovation happens in many different ways and places. It is not necessarily about new technology, it can be about new customers or new business models. It is not necessarily about a world-scale change, it can be very small-scale and localized. I could have added that it does not have to be difficult!
Just today, waiting for my (delayed!) flight from Paris Charles De Gaulle airport, I stop by the news agent and see Daniel Radcliffe’s picture on the front-cover of Premiere cinema magazine, with a headline that translates: ‘Harry Potter, the beginning of the end.’ Intrigued by the headline (really, if I had been more of a Harry Potter fan I should not have been intrigued), I grab the mag to browse through it, but before I can do so, my eye is caught by something rather unusual: I realize immediately that the next mag on the pile does not have the same front cover: that one is showing Emma Watson (who plays Hermione in the movie)! And the third one on the pile is showing Rupert Grint (who plays I don’t know whom, but I know he plays!)
What a great idea to increase sales, if only marginally! The content of the magazine is exactly the same, but Harry Potter fans amongst Premiere readership are invited to buy three copy of the same mag for the sole purpose of collecting the pictures of the three main characters! What is the technology content of such an innovation? Zero. What is the cost? In the age of digital printing, probably close to zero. What is the degree of difficulty to implement the idea? Zero.
Arguably, this small scale innovation is not going to change the world. But it’s going to increase revenue and create a bit of a buzz amongst the mag’s readership. It is an innovation all right. Well done Premiere!
Yann Cramer is an innovation learner, practitioner, sharer, teacher. He’s lived in France, Belgium and the UK, he’s travelled six continents to create development opportunities with customers or suppliers, and run workshops on R&D and Marketing. He writes on www.innovToday.com and on twitter @innovToday.