Innovation no longer means new. It means new with vision, strategy and support.
By Bettina Sherick (Founder, Hollywood In Pixels)
The word “innovative” is one of the most overused words in the marketing world — so much so that innovation is almost looked upon as a commodity. Something expected, instead of something to strive for. The word has been so overused that it has lost the power to ignite interest in even those audiences who crave new ideas.
In an attempt to salvage the meaning of innovation and what it means to me, I’ve spent some time pondering the traits of a true innovator, and specifically, what the word means for women.
To be a woman and an innovator requires a holistic mindset that encompasses everything from one’s ability to create dynamic marketing experiences to her approach to professional relationships.
With words of wisdom from some leading ladies who know exactly what it means to be transformative in marketing, I’ve compiled a list of five qualities that are inherent in women who bring meaning back to the word innovative.
Women who constantly seek ways in which people, ideas and concepts connect into something greater.
It really is true that the sum can be greater than its parts. Some of the strongest campaigns have come from layering ideas from different countries, departments and people, and connecting them using digital so that the campaigns grew exponentially bigger.
I admire women who are proactively looking for those connections, and can create something with very little resource or roadmap.
Women who are willing to take that leap off a cliff without quite knowing how things will land.
The difference between leapers and jumpers? Leapers, surveying the scene, try to plan for successful landing. Jumpers, well, they just jump. Leapers know not every jump will be successful; knowing how to recover is the key.
Marketers are in the industry of risk-taking, and to be innovative they must approach these risks strategically. We need contingency plans not just for monetary recovery but also moral and reputational restoration.
Women who believe in themselves and their abilities to will things into being.
From an early age, women are taught to second-guess their opinions. Successful women are those who can unearth their inner strength to reject the self-doubt and make stuff happen.
Denise Parkinson, entertainment director – global and UK, at Telegraph Media Group, found that self-loving and positive relationships have been her greatest keys to success:
“The most important thing in my life is my relationships. The number one relationship is the one I have with myself and the divine light that lives in me (and inside all). I nurture this daily with meditation, positive thinking, connecting to positive situations, people and art.
I eat well (mostly plant-based) to ensure that my vessel is in top shape for my daily engagements in the river of life — all about relationships. I nurture my friends, I really nurture my ‘enemies’ — they have been my greatest gifts; through difficult relationships, I have been able to move to greater and more rewarding challenges and environments.”
Women who envision things that have never been done before and can imagine them brought to life.
Women have great intuition. That "third eye" and the ability to see things not as linear steps but as completed outcomes come in handy.
An innovative idea in marketing is only as strong as the follow-through. Women who are truly innovative learn to quiet the voice in their head, and the voices of those around them, who tell them “it can’t be done,” or worse, “you can’t do it."
Women who support others and enjoy others’ successes.
A colleague of mine, Kathryn Schotthoefer, the senior vice president of social media at M&C Saatchi/Heavenspot, believes innovation stems from creating comfortable relationships:
“Innovation inside an institution like Hollywood requires high levels of diplomacy, as it frequently means navigating a complex web of practices based on outdated models and individuals who are uninspired to attempt change. The empathy that many women exhibit allows that diplomacy to come quite naturally, fostering relationships at a level that permits the uncomfortable discussion or unpopular opinion that is often the first step to change.
When someone knows that you value them as a person, they are much more likely to trust that you have their best interest in mind while proposing a new way of doing something.”
Denise Parkinson also weighs in: “I love the process of karma — it incentives me to connect people, to help people and I get a real joy down the line of seeing relationships I have introduced prosper and co-create.”
The Evolved “Innovation”
Innovative no longer means “new.” It means “new with vision, strategy and support.” Innovative female marketers who exhibit even a few of these qualities have a greater chance of finding success.
“For every individual, some of these qualities are naturally more dominant than others,” explained another colleague Linda Ong, founder and CEO of TruthCo. “The trick is to hone your strengths and cultivate your weaknesses. For example, I've always been very shy. But I never was happy about that, and so forced myself to develop a public speaking style that is uniquely my own.”
About the guest blogger: Bettina Sherick is the Founder of Hollywood In Pixels, an organization dedicated to the preservation of digital marketing content that has transformed entertainment and film. Follow her on Twitter at @bettina.