Out with the new, in with the old.
It’s time to put ideas first…


If you’re searching for the next big thing in tech innovation, and ‘digital disruption’ in 2016, consider this. The success of some of the world’s most innovative technology companies is down to brilliant and brave new ideas – not their bits or bytes – resulting in a whole new approach…

The world’s largest taxi company owns no taxis: Uber

Largest accommodation provider owns no property: Airbnb

Largest phone companies own no telco infrastructure: Skype. WeChat

World’s most valuable retailer has no inventory: Alibaba

Most popular media owner creates no content: Facebook

Fastest growing banks have no actual money: SocietyOne

World’s largest movie house owns no cinemas: Netflix

Largest software vendors don’t write the apps: Apple & Google

What can we learn from all of these?

A start-up mindset. Blank-sheet planning with entrepreneurial risk taking.

Avoidance of corporate inertia. Outlawing the phrase “that’s how it’s always been done…”

Serious insight: Understanding what audiences truly want, or need (not simply relying on what you can offer)

Recognising true breadth of competition: Think beyond the obvious competitor set e.g. in the real world, users don’t compare their banking apps with other banking apps; they compare them with Uber or Spotify’s usability, simplicity and service delivery.

Because nothing beats a brilliant idea:

Our inboxes are filled every week with the latest trend alerts in technology and digital, mobile, social or other ‘Consumer Relationship Activation Platforms’ (abbreviate at will…) that promises to revolutionise marketing and transform the way audiences behave, and ultimately spend. And with their plummeting costs (think 3D printing, cloud storage, increased processing power etc) it’s easy to be sucked in…

Which creates a worrying scenario, where brands feel they need to search out the very latest in tech wizardry as the answer to their latest marketing challenges. And a flurry of agencies will start up to offer niche and inaccessible expertise in the very latest thing. (Emperor’s New Clothes anyone?)

After all, the latest developments in tech and digital media are still only the carriers of a brilliant, original idea. 

It’s what the consumer sees, experiences, and benefits from that matters – and that’s where the timeless need for creativity comes in. The tech helps make it happen. But the idea must come first. This principle always has been, and always will be, the most effective way to engage with audiences.