I think it was the mighty Einstein who said ‘imagination is more important than knowledge’. Whilst he was not deriding education per se – I think he was advocating for an explosion of ideas – which (in my view) is the fuel that drives innovation. The ubiquity of the term ‘ innovation’ has under-scored the importance of this undertaking – which should not just be a marketing ploy or publicity stunt – but rather a deep discipline supported by everyday practice of creation, connection and conversing.

As CMO of a well-regarded financial services brand, I was tasked with driving the creation of a shared identity between the global brand and the local brand. The local brand was stagnant, flat-footed and over-reliant on sponsorships. The challenges were both systemic and historical. Breakthrough was only possible once the teams acknowledged that only innovation (the connection of dots in unconventional ways for a useful and sustainable outcome) would help the banking brand resonate with end-users as well as gain some competitive distinctiveness.

When innovation is done right, the results are compelling.
• It is not a way of doing but a way of being and new way of seeing
• It is premised upon an unyielding curiosity in humankind (any innovation that does not place humans at the centre – is an act in self-aggrandisement)
• It transforms ecosystems – entire value chain needs to be reviewed and reformed
• Innovation is the fuel that fires up the engine called brand which in turn advances business
Improves customer experience
It supports future-readiness  ensuring that products and services are aligned to purpose and are sustainable (as in longterm based)

• It enables brands to create emotional and rational stickiness in their target communities

The growing conversation around the quintuple helix of innovation proves that innovation is a discipline which is intersectional in practice and long-range in thinking. When executed with clear and positive intention – innovation can impact and enrich the lived experiences of humans in the various spheres of industry, academia, government, environment and civil society.


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