Tuesday, October 30, 2012

How far is the future?

Every marketer worth his money is usually concerned about ONE thing- how to deal with the ever-evolving consumer landscape and make the most of the opportunities that it presents. As a CMO, change is not only integral but is accelerating towards an uncertain future. As a graduate student in the Northwestern Medill IMC program, this greatly impacts how I look at the world. 

 The necessity of convergence and cultural diversity  is an important concept brought to light by Faisal Hoque. He highlights the importance of cross-functional management culture, focusing on the importance of good leaders who actually make this happen. A good team comprises of both left-brained and right-brained people; this combination will lead to the next set of innovative intelligence. I agree with the author, not just because of the aforementioned field I am in, but because the rate at which the world is moving, the shift is clearly towards diversity and inter-disciplinary integration.
Integration is key

He talks about three personas that help facilitate innovation. To quote him:

Learning personas that keep an enterprise from being too internally focused and trapped within their comfort zone. Learners need to be sufficiently humble to question their worldview and remain open to new insights every day.

Organizing personas that serve to move the innovation lifecycle forward. Even the best ideas must continuously compete for attention, resources, and time. These champions are skilled at navigating processes, politics, and red tape to bring an innovation to market

Building personas are the connections between the learning and organizing personas; they apply insights from the learning personas and channel the empowerment from the organizing personas to make new things happen. Builders are often highly visible and close to the heart of the innovation action.

We understand that all kinds of people are important for an organization to work successfully. The C-suite is now encouraged to break silos and include people from different fields, to bring in different perspectives. And while many organizations have adopted that, there are many others that are still struggling. 

There are a few necessary steps organizations can take to ensure that they do not fall behind in the game.
1. Encouraging inter-departmental communication and interaction: The power of communication is immense. You do not know when the next big idea will hit you. It could be the guy from IT talking about an error that keeps popping up, or the product manager who shares his thoughts on 'social media' with you. The more people talk to each other, the better it is for your organization. 

2. Facilitate exchange of ideas: To do the above you could facilitate events that encourage exchange of ideas. Creativity incubators are a good way to get your employees thinking and looking at issues they are wrestling with on a daily basis, differently.  

3. Build cross-functional teams: And finally, making a conscious effort to build cross-functional teams, can go a long way. Different disciplines bring in different perspectives, which lead to a more holistic way of looking at any given situation.

     The change has to come from the core. Communication is not enough- Integration is key. For smaller organizations it is easier to align messaging, for bigger organizations it would mean an overall change in their structure, which might be difficult, but I guarantee you- will bring promising results.

Anchit Dhawan is a student of Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University. Her concentrations include Direct and Interactive Marketing and Marketing Analytics. She is passionate about brands, ideas, start-ups and the world of technology. You can reach her with questions or comments on Twitter @anchitdhawan

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