Everybody and Their Dog is Innovating
We here at Frame Concepts perhaps have a skewed view as we work with a lot startups who by definition are innovating to make inroads against established marketplace players. But our large clients now seem to have a new skin – perhaps a new DNA – it seems that their traditional product release events are now byproducts of their newly formed innovation lab. And instead of visually explaining how a new module or feature is adding value we are being asked to visually explain a completely new approach. And so our ideation pencil sketches are proving to be VERY relevant in teasing out the point of a completely new approach.
A Typical Innovation Sketch
New Approach Vs New Feature(s)
And perhaps more so for the large established corporation – its important that its understood as a new approach and ot simply a new feature or features. In a way the large corporation has it harder than the startup as one expects the startup to offer something new while the large corporation with its entrenched products has to shake up preconceptions. Our more clever large clients recognize this and think well ahead of release date how to make the point of the innovation resonate. And so we get involved earlier.
Opening Scene of New Solution Approach Banner Ad
How Early Should You Be Sketching Out Innovation Communications?
From our experience the best time to start is at the beginning. We partner with large consulting delivery firms and we are asked to come on the first day. And while there is some level of direction as indicated in the initial functional specs and certainly the SOW – the way to approach the problem and envision the solution is part of the process. And so on this first meeting we sketch and we sketch and we sketch. Heaps of white board or long scrolling paper gets filled with ideation sketches as the debate rages on and iterations on visuals become a reference and become a galvanizing force so everyone starts seeing and agreeing on the vision.
An Early Stage Experience Sketch
Moving from Innovation Strategy to Tactics
And while the final innovation sketches help conclude approach they are also redeployed as practical visual steps to moving the project to completion. Most of the delivery team will not be exposed to the initial innovation sessions but final sketches with battle scars and all now become the blueprint for execution. And they can take many forms – we call them pictograms (others react to them as infographics) – and we bring them into brand with a digital render phase and format them to be placed on employe intranets, interactive product demo’s and microsite, reference cards printed and laminated on hallways and cubicle walls and can make their way into the solution in the form of wireframes and visual prototypes.
Early Stage Prototype Sketch
Does Communicating Innovation Matter?
Well one can talk to the heap of startups whose innovation value fell on deaf ears and was not embraced by the marketplace. There are plenty of startup failures simple because the relevant audience did not get them. And likewise there are scores of large corporations leaps into the innovation waters that a year later was distance memory and the butt of more than one employees jokes as it faded into the yet another poorly thought out innovation junk pile. So why in 2018 would we not be sketching out and creatively producing the most compelling visual communication to ensure success? The problem in my view is a talent gap. Invariably the technical innovation team rightly conclude that they do not have the appropriate creative communication chops to do justice to the innovation presentation so they turn to their internal marketing department or a retaining ad agency. And they are really creative brand experts. Their skillset typically is not to pour through technical documents, receive and debrief around a technical demo and then start pencil sketching a visual representation of the process or approach or technology to get it right. And so what happens more often than not one gets a website and presentation materials filled with text and stock photos. And all the glorious innovation imbued in the new solution is lost.
Visuals Always Trump Stock Photos with Text
Information Design to the Rescue
The fact that everyone is innovating is welcome news for us here at Frame Concepts. We welcome the challenge of nuanced and technical innovation and coming up with a sketch that nails the point of the innovation and then breathe that visual eureka moment into solution pictograms and animations and data visualizations. But first we need our client to raise the white flag and bring us their innovation and then collaborative visual innovation communications makes the innovation matter.
If you would like to learn more how to visualize your innovation – you can contact Frame Concepts here – Contact Frame Concepts