Being focused on one direction might seem like a handicap to innovation. After all, don’t you need freedom to innovate? If you’ve ever sat down with a blank sheet of paper and no objective other than to “create”, you know there’s nothing more terrifying. We need direction to create. 

A clear brand focus makes innovation possible.

Pam Klein shared with the team a recent TEDtalk from Joi Ito, Want to innovate? Become a "now-ist". Joi’s talk isn’t about branding, but the analogy is clear: innovation is a direct result of having a defined purpose.

Joi’s story about his project SafeCast, highlights how innovation was not a result of free form thinking but rather a direct result of having a clear purpose — and that opened the path for innovative thinking.

At Phoenix Group we call it a Brand Purpose. Joi refers to it as having a strong compass. Instead of always spending time developing the exact right plan and then building a map of how to get there, you need a compass. Define what you stand for and then set people free to build the roads to get there.

With a strong compass you can innovate your way toward your purpose.

The TEDtalk is certainly worth watching and elaborates on how a compass helps you compete today. He shares the story of the 2011 earthquake in Japan. Joi was concerned about his family and wanted access to radioactivity levels. There was nothing available. He envisioned collecting data on radioactivity levels across Japan and somehow sharing the information.

That was the compass.

This clear purpose led to innovative solutions. He turned to the web, attracting amazing contributions from talented people who, knowing the mission, wanted to help. And, because the compass was pointed in one direction, their help and ideas were focused. Doesn’t that sound like what you would love your staff to have the power to do?

Your employees have energy and desire to help your company. With your direction defined, staff have a clear path and understand how to direct their energy. Your brand is your compass. Your purpose. It is what you stand for. Without that, everyone pushes in different directions. 

It comes back to the arrows!



Posted by David Bellerive. David is Vice President of Creative and Interactive for the Phoenix Group