Posted: Thu 25th Apr 2013
My annual visit to the Innovation Uncensored conference is a once in a year opportunity to leave the UK, distance myself from the detail, and work on the business rather than in it. It's a chance to sit back, listen to experts and consider the direction of Enterprise NationÂ - as well as coming up with new ideas. This year I listened to 33 speakers over seven hours and am now responding to the request from our editorÂ to sum this up in the form of a single message that came across most strongly at the event.
That message, I would say, is around 'speed' andÂ 'engagement'. "It's a faster world," saidÂ youthÂ campaigner and social entrepreneur,Â Nancy Lublin. "People in your trade don't sleep," said fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg toÂ techÂ entrepreneur and Twitter creator, Jack Dorsey. "Because if you sleep, you just know that someone younger and brighter isÂ doingÂ somethingÂ smarter than you. Everything moves so fast now."
Diane von Furstenberg
Speed to market isÂ critical in the modern business environment. StayingÂ nimbleÂ is vital, too. But Bonin Bough, the marketing man behind Oreo's much-praised social media campaigns, made a valid point in referencing the amount ofÂ planningÂ that lies behind fast action. He was referring to a tweet at the Superbowl that got millions of peopleÂ talkingÂ aboutÂ Oreo. Time had been dedicated, however, inÂ theÂ previous 100 days to "flexing the company's mental muscle" to be ready for this moment, said Bonin.
The message? 'Act fast. PrepareÂ first.'
Amid the talk of speed, there was repeated reference to tapping into emotions and engaging with customersÂ through partnerships, causes, communities, social media,Â online and off. Critically, what I sensed was the desire on the part of big business (and there were many of them speaking, including Starbucks, Coca Cola, Google, Intel and Walmart) to have a conversation with customers, as opposed to pushing products at them.
In my view, this represents a greatÂ opportunityÂ for small businesses to approach big ones and suggestÂ partnerships where you help the larger company engage and appear authentic. I'm going to give more thought to this and blog about the topic withÂ concrete suggestions for you over the nextÂ coupleÂ ofÂ months.
In previous years, I've come away from this event thinking 'We must do this' or 'We must do that'. But this year, for me, was more about confirmation that we'reÂ on theÂ right track at Enterprise Nation. That confirmation can be as important as the eureka moment of coming up with new ideas, but you can bet your bottom dollar that itÂ doesn't mean we'll stop innovating as aÂ businessÂ and moving at speed to serve the small businesses that make up our Enterprise Nation. Emma Jones isÂ founder of Enterprise Nation
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Photo credits: San Sharma