What has surprised you most in your role in delivering innovation?
The profound influence of human emotion and connection. In order to create something different or build a business, you have to get other people on board.
Innovation doesn’t happen inside a computer screen, it doesn’t even happen at the product level. It happens in our minds and in our imagination.
To get others on board - customers, employees, partners, supporters - you have to be able to communicate a message that resonates, not just intellectually but also on an emotional level.
What do you feel is one of the greatest challenges to innovators in today’s climate?
It's the best and worst time to innovate.
The best because incredible technological advancements, especially in AI, are reshaping our lives, work, and creativity. Social media has revolutionised how brands connect with audiences. Perfect for envisioning new products and services!
The worst because rapid change makes it challenging to stay focused on the right things. Many companies pursue innovation (like AI) just to follow trends or out of fear of falling behind.
Another challenge is the social media echo-chamber. Every industry faces it: LinkedIn and Twitter feeds flooded with repeated opinions and critiques. The echo-chamber is not productive, yet easy to get stuck in because fundamentally it's easier to throw jabs than to take consistent action towards change.
Lastly, the current economic climate pushes larger companies to reconsider resource allocation. Innovation remains vital, but some reduce budgets and opt for external innovation partners for efficiency.
What advice would you give to others in similar roles given this challenge?
It’s more important than ever to build a partner network to share market insights, opportunities, and lessons learned. If you are part of a larger brand - working with entrepreneurs, startup ecosystems and relevant communities can be incredibly insightful in seeing where your sector is heading. These relationships may also lead to productive opportunities in the future.
The worst you can do today if you are leading innovation in any business is to stay siloed and receive all your insight from social media.
Go out there, meet other innovators and builders, and get inspired!