Adopt an Innovation Mindset to Supercharge Creative Content Production

Outpacing global demand for creative digital content will require embracing big ideas, accepting change, and acting quickly to transform outdated solution frameworks.

Summary: With over 34 billion devices currently online and 875,000 new internet users every day, demand for creative content has accelerated to a pace that far exceeds what most organizations have the production capability to accommodate. Finding breakthrough solutions will require content teams to adopt strategic innovation mindsets to meet this challenge.

Illustration of man surrounded by lightbulbs.
Illustration of man surrounded by lightbulbs.

he good news is that the economy appears to be on the cusp of a faster-than-expected turnaround, thanks in part to expanded vaccinations and safety protocols. And, while that may not be the case across all industries, it heralds a return-to-normal for marketers and enterprise-level creative content production over the coming months.

The bad news is that, with an ever-increasing number of screens and devices, explosive growth in e-commerce, and a year’s worth of pent-up demand, a return to “normal” may happen too fast for some organizations to react effectively.

Achieving a sufficient level of scale will require a mindset and framework for continuous creative innovation and planning for growth beyond simply expanding production teams, automating processes or utilizing off-shore resources.

Cross-Platform Storytelling at Scale

Creative content is a diverse spectrum of media assets, including video, image, audio, and graphics, that deliver brand or product messaging and drive awareness across devices and consumer touchpoints. Generally speaking, content is what gives substance and relevance to the digital world.

Advanced technologies like artificial intelligence, extended reality, game engines, and natural language processing continue to evolve, extending how we define and consume content. Ultimately, individual brand messages will function as visual and story-first standalone experiences — enabled seamlessly with self-contained interaction and personalization capabilities.

It’s not surprising in the context of this expanded view that creative content development and production is projected to grow 12% annually to a $38.2 billion market by 2030.

An Innovation Challenge for Creative Production

We have a unique opportunity coming out of this past year of COVID-19 lockdowns and production roadblocks. The downtime gave us a fresh perspective on virtual collaboration and revealed the make-do ingenuity of our colleagues. It also gave us a chance at this critical inflection point in our industry to establish and nurture the innovation culture necessary to meet our future challenges and fuel sustainable growth.

The words “creativity” and “innovation” are often used interchangeably, but they have very different meanings. Creativity, the term associated with art and storytelling, is about the process of original idea generation. On the other hand, innovation is about execution — combining concepts or bits of strategy into successful business processes and solutions.

In “The Other Side of Innovation: Solving the Execution Challenge,” Chris Trimble and Vijay Govindarajan point out why ideas will only get you so far. Innovation initiatives, they say, face their stiffest resistance after they show hints of success, begin to consume significant resources, and clash with the existing organization at multiple levels.

Businesses tend to be far better at generating ideas than executing them. Ensuring that all stakeholders are aligned, open to change, and motivated to act quickly will improve your chances of turning sticky notes into real-world applications.

The critical challenge to innovate around, in this case, is a need to scale the production of highly creative media — and doing so with consistent quality and relevant messaging for all customers globally. Whether the goal is to double production or multiply by tenfold, it represents a growing opportunity with few direct precedents.

Hard Work With Transformational Results

After reframing the challenge to reflect your team or organization’s unique circumstances, break it down into individual pain points and ask, “if we solved each one of these smaller puzzles, would the main challenge be solved?” Doing so will help you stay focused on manageable issues that will directly affect your business regardless of whether the overarching challenge is solved.

Your breakdown might look something like this:

  • Budget: How can we stretch limited resources to meet the growing need?
  • Speed to market: How can we reduce the time to market for content production?
  • Scale: How can the content we produce conform to more applications than before or be suitable for more audiences?
  • Relevance: How can we create content that is culturally relevant and personalized across all devices and channels?
  • Technological: How can we ensure that content is updated and in the appropriate format for an ever-changing digital environment?
  • Automation: What aspects of our production process can be automated or streamlined with AI/machine learning?

Arriving at a solution will require time and significant effort to understand the components of the challenge thoroughly. You may need to interview numerous stakeholders, evaluate existing processes, experiment with new technologies and workshop various solutions as they come together. Most importantly, you will look at other businesses to find any applicable bits of successful strategy to glean as pieces to your puzzle.

When approaching your challenge, be inspired by your creative team but think like an innovator. The most prolific of them all, Thomas Edison, put it well: “Innovation is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.”

Markus is a creative / design consultant & strategist who uses human-centered insights, storytelling, art, and technology to solve complex business challenges

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