Posts Tagged ‘organization’

When “New” Really Means “New to Us”

December 1, 2016


Companies improve their results through innovating. Innovation is synonymous with advancement and in our world where enabling tools and solutions present constant opportunities, the challenges of selection is ever increasing.

 “New” most often means “new to us.” This brings a key dimension of evaluation because “new to us” can mean that competitors for share of wallet, time and attention are already benefiting from the new approach. Leadership in our world is more often defined as being a fast follower or part of the early majority of users.

Bob Amster, Principal of Retail Technology Group sums this up in saying that  “most follow, few lead,” adding that “innovation is dictated by a combination of imagination, perceived return, trends, culture and the personality of individuals making those decisions.”

The abilities to manage risk and for change management are some key ingredients of innovating.

Mark Ryski, Founder, CEO and Author, Headcount Corporation noted in a RetailWire comment “When it comes to innovation, retailers in particular need to focus on the critical few versus the trivial many of business challenges”. He notes “there are so many solutions available that determining which solutions to evaluate let alone implement is a problem. Retail executives need to be clear about their business objectives, set priorities and then narrow their focus to explore the solutions that can help them achieve these”.

Many innovations contribute to the accomplishment of a range of business priorities. Email and electronic commerce are good examples of broadly applicable enabling infrastructure, and umbrella approaches such as omni-channel marketing, customer relationship management and partnership strategy provide the context to assess the applicability of innovations.

Innovation only happens when somebody is expected to do it. Otherwise the force of inaction will prevail. Everybody in the enterprise must expect it from everyone above and below as a culture of innovation.

Patricia Vekich Waldron, Global Marketing Director, Retail, Consumer Products, IBM Corp cautions against trying to be incrementally better than the business next door, because consumers are measuring everyone against their last great experience regardless of what it was”.

Innovation in the “new to us” world can mean applying approaches that are proving successful in different applications. For example, quick serve restaurant drive-thru offers lessons to banking and parcel pick up. Museum, gallery and stadium media presentation offer lessons to malls and retailers. Corporate lobby display can take lessons from transportation messaging and trading floors.  

Lee Kent, Principal, Your Retail Authority, LLC advises that “The first step to saying yes to innovation is to be innovation-ready by creating an infrastructure based on a core. A core is established by looking at mission-critical processes focused around customers, suppliers and employees”.

When this is slow to emerge, innovation centers should be established to be a force for improvement by identifying and advancing business, marketing, operating and technical opportunities that others may overlook or that span organizational boundaries.

Dynamic in-store signage is an example of an approach that improves the productivity of place, processes and people and positively impacts many areas such as customer engagement, location appeal, branding, merchandising, supplier support, associate training, safety improvement, hiring, loss prevention and others. Introducing this approach requires executive or innovation group stewardship.

Digital signage and place-based dynamic screenmedia meet the definition of “new to us” innovation definition and criteria of many organization. It’s technology has been well-proven across and within business sectors even as the content that it is used to present is specific to the goals of the individual business. It’s customer engagement and business development value through branding and merchandising support traffic generation and revenue achievement, as does it’s bringing vitality and improved ambiance in locations where it is used.

For some organizations, the challenge of advancement lies in more fully using the innovations that they discover. The processes used for test, trial and discovery can differ from the budgeting and operational approaches that would allow an innovation to be more widely applies.





/* Style Definitions */
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt;

Being innovative therefore entails defining approaches that are new to the organization, but also, advancing the ways that allow the benefits of these to be more fully realized.


Building the Right Digital Signage Team

August 1, 2016

Team heirarchy

The collective strengths of the people involved in a digital signage initiative generally define the project success.

Team leadership usually lies with the department that will gain the greatest benefit toward achieving their goals. Departments bring their expertise and things get done, hopefully.

Digital signage is one of those multi-department projects with touch points across the organization because of its impact on the organization.

Operationally, digital signage contributes to the productivity of places, processes and people. At the tactical level it impacts the success of the engagement of customers, patrons and staff. At the strategic level it impacts brand positioning and equity, along with the creation and leverage of assets.

When digital signage becomes the focus of discussion, each department has its own interests.

  • Everybody wants improved customer experience based on what they do as a contribution to it.
  • Executives want better corporate performance.
  • Procurement wants to minimize capital outlay, and if they are team players, the total cost of ownership.
  • Facilities seek digital signage that will deliver improved performance of the location and a better visitor experience
  • Marketing wants better branding and merchandising at lower ongoing communications cost.
  • Human Resources want to inspire productivity and minimize staff related costs such as absence, hiring and accident claims.
  • Information Technologies want a solution that works and is RAS-able (Reliable, Available, Scalable)
  • The Chief Information Officer wants to leverage data assets to improve productivity and enable new ways of operating.
  • The security department want loss prevention.

When the medium is applied, everyone has something at stake. The task of aligning those interests, marshalling resources, consensus building and “herding the cats” often calls on subject matter expertise as well as project management skills.

The project sponsor should be the highest-placed executive of the department that realizes that they have the most to gain toward digital signage helping to achieve their goals.

The team leader should be a direct report to that executive with the proven ability to get things done. They will understand the organization and its priorities, and marshal the resources to move the project forward.

Team Heirrchy 2       Team Heirarchy 3

The core elements of the team should include the key stakeholders such as marketing, information technologies, procurement, facilities and human resources. Specific groups such as security, merchant/supplier liaison, public affairs or investor relations can be engaged as suitable.

The digital signage team will oversee the design, funding, sourcing, deployment of the project, and it is common that responsibilities for ongoing elements such as network operations and content administration are met by the suitable business division. Optimization of the investment typically resides with the primary beneficiary.

Since “content” will be a primary consideration if the benefits of digital signage are to be fully realized, business units such as marketing, human resources, patron/facility personnel, line of business managers and agencies responsible for “content” on other marketing/communications devises such as TV, cable, billboard, print, internet and mobile should be involved.

Given the ability of digital signage to drive “audience of one” engagement, those involved with internet, mobile and kiosk strategy and operations will be particularly interested in the digital signage initiative from the standpoint of “transmedia” leverage.

Suppliers can be very useful in providing technology and service element expertise. External resources, such as a consultant or suppliers, able to provide objective guidance can also help to assure involvement by applicable business units while minimizing staff time and resources while minimizing time, risk and investment on the project.

“Templates” can be a strong foundation for project advancement. Designs, plans and budgets from similar projects can minimize the effort and time requirement while helping to assure that elements are adequately addressed and risk is minimized.

Digital signage has broad organizational impact, and as such there are many with interest in how the project will go forward and the medium used. The key role is that of project leader, who requires the support of management and input from other stakeholders.

Lyle Bunn is an independent analyst, advisor and educator related to digital place-based signage. He has assisted hundreds of organizations, published over 350 articles, whitepapers and guidebooks and helped to train over 10,000 end user and supply professionals.