Innovation is never easy – witness the results of the most recent Nielsen Breakthrough Innovation Report, which states that, of the 3,522 new products launched in 2013, only 12 achieved the distinctiveness, relevance, and revenue that mark a real breakthrough.
Unfortunately, many brand organizations seem to think that a difficult challenge requires a difficult process. This month’s fable addresses the temptation toward overwrought processes of innovation, which do not by definition result in success.
We asked this month’s fable creators – Kyleigh Wawak (author), a culinary designer, and Teddy Lu (illustrator), an industrial designer – to explain:
Brandingmag: What was the inspiration for this fable?
Kyleigh Wawak: It’s basically an innovator’s take on “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” We have several clients that spend tons of time and money trying to work through new, overwrought and/or very inflexible processes. These processes are supposed to lead to incredible ideas for innovation, but frequently turn out to be much less effective.
Teddy Lu: In the end, it is exactly like the emperor’s new clothes, full of good intent and wishful thinking, but not resulting in anything real.
KW: A lot of times we see our clients trying to buy into a new process because somehow they think the process itself is the key to success. Now, of course a process might lead you there, but at the end of the day the way a team behaves– being highly collaborative, listening to diverse viewpoints, and being adaptive to the twists and turns that inevitably happen–that gets to a result. People still need to work hard, they need to ask the hard questions, and be willing to hear the answers. There needs to be open communication throughout so the team can make adjustments, change directions, troubleshoot.
BM: What is the fable about?
TL: Our fable “Great Egg-specations” is about Frankie the fox, a true foodie and social butterfly who gets incredibly excited about the beautiful new eggs he heard Carla the chicken was able to produce. He hires her to produce some for him, but in his excitement he forgets to share his goals with her, discuss what she’s doing, and why. He assumes because the eggs are crafted with a unique process, and look beautiful, that they will taste great too.
BM: What should viewers take away from this fable?
TL: The moral of the story is to not be blinded by glamorous process, and to always stay in open communication with your teammates to ensure you are aligned toward the same goals. Don’t be afraid to tell the emperor what you really see, and always make sure your EGG-spectations don’t get in the way of real progress!
KW: Frankie is so excited about the big reveal at the party, he forgets to check in with Carla on how things are going, and to make sure their goals are aligned. The eggs are indeed beautiful, but to everyone’s amazement they taste awful, the party is ruined and so is Frankie’s reputation.