“We’ve always done it this way: the most dangerous phrase in business”

Jamie McCoy, Consenna

If you’re standing still, you might as well be going backwards.

Businesses worldwide broadly fall in to three categories: those which innovate and grow; those which talk about innovation, but which ultimately rely on tried and tested approaches and consequently make little progress; and those which are happy to stick with how things are.  And whilst for a long time each had their place, nowadays survival is absolutely dependent on innovating.  If you don’t believe me, just cast your mind back to Blackberry and PalmPilot!  Enough said.

 

But what is it to truly innovate?  It’s easy to pay lip service to buzz words such as ‘disruptive’, ‘revolutionary’, ‘Machine Learning’, ‘AI’ and many others besides and it’s often the case that as terms start to enter the general zeitgeist, you’ll see a fast adoption of their use but less of their actual application.

Greensill Capital is a perfect recent example of this.  Essentially a standard invoice factoring business, they built a profile suggesting their disruption of the industry through complex AI and machine learning that allowed them to approve financing for much riskier situations than others were doing.  It backfired simply because use of the buzzwords allowed the business to explode in size whilst there was, in fact, an absence of these innovative methods being used in practice. They were no more revolutionary than any other players in the sector.  They had correctly identified an outmoded way of operating (in this case manually), but they’d failed to deliver an actionable solution.  (Of course, their troubles snowballed to far bigger issues than just this, but that’s all another story!)

And that’s the point: identifying that something is outdated and could be done better is only part of the challenge.  Taking the gutsy step forward to actually design a valid, appropriate and game-changing alternative is where real progress is made.  But change can be scary, fear of the unknown is often an inhibitor to that first brave step forward and, unfortunately, success can’t always be guaranteed.

 

So how can truly outmoded thinking that is ripe for innovation and change be successfully identified?

 

Here we use Occam’s Razor.  ‘What?’ I hear you say!!  Essentially this states that one should not increase (beyond reason) the number of assumptions required to explain anything.  In short, the simplest solution is often the best one.  Einstein summed up this distillation of effort to find the simplest solution to problems by saying “I will always choose a lazy person to do a difficult job, because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it”.

Indeed, most businesses adopt processes designed to be lean, simple, and efficient to use.  That’s good business logic – until you hold on to those processes for too long without regularly retesting your assumptions.

 

Take this as an example: “We always send our newsletter on a Friday afternoon because that’s when most customers are winding down for the weekend and we get the best engagement rates”.  That may have been the case when the newsletter was launched but has that assumption been retested more recently?  Friday afternoons are amongst the heaviest times for email traffic times meaning your once strong performing slot is now diluted to the detriment of your KPI’s.   But all is not lost – the sweet spot of attention within your target audience has shifted and through strategic test and learn activity, you can identify where that now sits and update your activity to take advantage of the knowledge you’ve gained.

 

Of course, this is a simple example which is quick to test and fix, but the logic stands true: identify the assumptions, challenge the outmoded thinking by testing, solution design and measurement and then, innovate… truly innovate.

But why I am I concerned with this?  Simply because Consenna is all about being disruptive and innovative and we use exactly this approach.

When we started to consider the channel, its shared struggles and hyper-specific challenges we knew that change was needed.

We’ve spent many years successfully developing and managing an unrivalled range of promotional campaigns for our customers throughout the IT ecosystem.  This experience equipped us with the insight that the process of discovery, specification and launch of promotions was outdated, complicated and lengthy.  It was prime for disruption.

Enter Consenna Spark!

 

This is where we’ve designed and launched a menu of the most impactful promotion concepts, outlining their unique strengths, suggested applications, items to consider for each promotion and factors such as how rapidly they can be deployed – which, with our experience, is ‘very quickly’.

The biggest disruptive step we’ve taken is to give clear indicative pricing for each, and a simple three-question process to receive a guaranteed price and build time within 24 hours for any new promotion.

This makes Spark the only rapid deployment menu of promotions in the industry, allowing all OEM’s, distributors, software authors and even resellers to understand how they could leverage promotions to boost performance – and importantly, what cost level they’re typically at.  This allows full transparency and reduced time to market both on the decision and on the launch.

We identified the assumptions that existed in delivering IT promotions, we challenged the outmoded thinking by testing, solution design and measurement and then, we innovated and disrupted.

It’s what we do at Consenna.  We thrive on challenging outmoded thinking whenever and wherever we see it and we’re not stopping with Spark – this will be just one in a whole suite of products that we’re scoping out and designing so that we can be sure of continuing to positively disrupt the channel.  After all, ‘we’ve always done it this way’ is not something we’re prepared to adhere to.