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Ideas: Novelty or Core Strategy?


Why Do  Some Companies Treat Ideas as Novelty Instead of Core Strategy?

As a consultant to many industries, sectors and businesses, this article may be somewhat of a venting rant but I think it needs to be said so we can all step back for 2 minutes and re-evaluate our strategies, our marketing and our sales approach as we move into 2014. Because with everyone feeling “Gung Ho” 4 weeks after their New Years Resolutions, the only really changes for you this year are going to come from making an actual change.

Example # 1: Social Media

2 or 3 years ago, a large proportion of businesses were treating social media as a burden, a time waster that your receptionist went to when the phone wasn’t ringing, the hair-brained approach your Marketing Manager was raving on about while you wanted to focus on the core business. Now social media is an accepted part of your marketing energy, budget and allocated time.

Yet, there are still businesses out there who treat these initiatives as novelty, not core strategy.

Ideas – Novelty or Core Strategy?

Every idea needs to pass through this simple filter – I call it the “Novelty Filter”.

Here’s 3 Key Questions to Ask to Help Separate Novelty from Strategy:


  1. Is this a novelty idea?
  2. Is it cute and fun to think about how cool it would make you look?


  1. Or is this something that is an emerging trend that we need to sit up and take notice of, and implement as part of our core strategy?
  2. Is there someone else out there already effectively using this to get results?

The danger with not thinking this way, is the human mind tends to resist change. And by resisting change as our default mode of thought, we dismiss or fail to look deeply at potential game changers.

So when you miss the boat, someone else emerges as the leader. they become the trend setter. They are viewed as cutting edge by their audience. And they now have a new story to tell while you’re playing catch up.

Now this does not mean, you need to jump all over every new idea and implement it. Constantly changing your business model would equal chaos. It also doesn’t mean we are just talk technology here either.

Where Ideas Come From

The old business hierarchy meant all ideas came from upper management. Today this is a fool’s path that leads straight to “broke”. Ideas come from everywhere. They come from outside your industry, not just the the copycat model of watching your competition. Ideas come from your staff on the ground, the salespeople in the field and on the phones, they come from your customers who are pissed at you and those who love you enough to give you ideas to make stuff better – but you will only hear these ideas, and see them as ways to innovate your business if you listen. You need a system for feedback!

From Listening to Innovating

When you hear an idea that can improve your business, you need to put it through the “Novelty Filter”. If it has merit, you can’t just say we’re doing this now. You need to implement it as a system. You need to get people’s heads around it or there won’t be any follow through. You need staff training. You need to put metrics in place to track the effectiveness of your new actions.

But here’s the kicker…

Innovator or Laggard?strategy-novelty

Be the first to take action and make your new ideas part of your day to day business – you get branded as an “Innovator”. Be the last and you’re a copycat laggard (man, that sounds ugly!). But better late than never, is better than never at all. If it’s a core strategy with merit, introducing it late keeps you in the game.

Better to play catch up, than be beaten and dead!

This insight has come from my frustration in dealing with clients. I would ask myself “Why can’t they see how important this is? Why can’t they see how this works, the opportunity?” I realised it’s not that they don’t see it. They simply treat some ideas as novel, not core strategy.

Believe it or not, there are still businesses out there with no website. But not many…


Image Source: Wikipedia

Want to contribute to the conversation? Have your say using #noveltyfilter

Love to hear your thoughts on this so leave a comment on my blog – I read every one.

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