Is it possible to put a price on innovation? Not really. I mean, how do you put a price on something that is in essence non-tangible? And how do we know what the real value of innovation is? It is sadly something that is all too often underappreciated because innovation is not necessarily correctly valued.

I do believe though that we can value it – by looking at the cost of its opposite aspects like mundaneness, wallpaper, boring. The most recent Adex numbers revealed how much money is spent on advertising in South Africa every year and it’s a staggering number – roughly R40 Billion!

That is astronomical. It means that there is about R110m spent on advertising every single day!

Here comes the difficult question… how many ads can you remember seeing yesterday? Can you remember five? Three? Can you remember one?

I bet, if there is one, it is one that had that very rare ingredient. Innovation.

R110m is spent every single day by an industry that doesn’t often count the cost of waste. Wallpaper, bland and mundane communication disappears in a sea of sameness, washed away by sheer volume. So, while we might not know what innovation is worth – we know what blandness in advertising costs. It costs us R110m every day.

As communicators we should wake up every day thinking that the average consumer is exposed to 5,000 pieces of communication per day. The overwhelming majority of that is not noticed. It is money spent and wasted. So ask yourself – whether I work in media, strategy, creative, PR or any other communications field – what am I doing to be a distinctive one in 5,000? Why will the consumer notice, react, remember and respond to my one ad when there are 5,000 like it, making R110m worth of noise.

Yes, it’s scary. But it should challenge us to do and be better. To truly value innovation for what it can do.

Other INNOVATE® Ecosystems