Process, culture, promise: Three steps to drive innovative thinking
True innovation in a marketing sense creates value that didn't previously exist.
By value, I mean creating something that a) the consumer is willing to pay for, and b) something that is profitable for the company to do. A new line extension developed to keep the retailer happy, or to maintain shelf-blocking at point of sale, does not meet this definition. Nor does a new idea that wins creative awards (although it might)! True innovation, in this sense, is difficult, as it requires both the spirit of inventing new possibilities, with the realism of being commercially responsible.
I'd like to mention an innovation I've been involved with that I like (if you'll indulge me!) and then talk about what we've learned about innovation, and how we've created a process that delivers on it (relatively) consistently.