Posts Tagged ‘Innovation’

145 Years Young: Digital Innovation at The Met

June 17, 2015

In 1967, IBM founder Thomas J. Watson approached The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City with a then unheard of offer… to donate computers to the Museum. The Met declined. Ironically, one particular curator doubted that a computer would be a “time-saving device.”

This resistance to joining the technology-driven world may now seem as dated as a piece from the Met’s Ancient collection, given that 2011 marked the year the Met lifted its cell phone ban and redesigned its website for optimal viewing on smartphone screens. And in 2013, the Museum’s first-ever Chief Digital Officer, Sree Sreenivasan, was brought on board to digitally transform the museum experience.

Art and technology have long been bedfellows—from Michelangelo with his chisel and hammer to Ryan TrecartinSree Sreenivasan at BRITE'15 with his mixed-media video installations. Speaking at the BRITE ’15 conference, Sreenivasan, who is also formerly Columbia University’s first Chief Digital Officer, noted, “Any art you see today is because the artist used the right technology at the right time—the right canvas, the right marble, the right tools.”

Sreenivasan understands firsthand the challenges of keeping pace with a rapidly evolving digital world, particularly at renowned institutions with such historical significance. At BRITE ’15, Sreenivasan shared insights from digital, mobile and social lessons learned during his tenure with The Metropolitan Museum of Art. He explained that a consistent strategy across mobile and social media platforms, like the one employed by the Met, is pivotal to staying relevant and continuing to meet consumers’ day-to-day desires in this age of constant change and innovation.

It’s no secret that mobile is now more important than ever. In September 2014, the Met launched its first app. Sreenivasan wanted to provide Museum visitors with an app that would speak more directly to their interests, “instead of putting the whole museum in [their] pocket.” Art enthusiasts can track upcoming events, save their favorite works of art to their smartphones and tweet about their favorite exhibitions. Within two weeks of its release, the app was downloaded more than 100,000 times and has been hailed as one of the Apple Store’s “Best New Apps.”

Though his title is Chief Digital Officer, Sreenivasan considers himself to be more of a “Chief Listening Officer,” observing the varying interests and behaviors of the institution’s 6 million museum attendees and the 30 million unique online visitors a year. “That’s a lot of listening,” quipped Sreenivasan.

One result of all that listening was a commitment to creating hashtags for each exhibition. No small feat, considering the Met currently houses over 2 million works of art. Sreenivasan credits the audience who tweeted their wishes for an intuitive way to share their museum experiences.

Sreenivasan notes that audiences are becoming increasingly “culturally curious,” eager to glimpse the behind-the-scenes of installations. The Met answered this growing need by displaying online the restoration of one of its most coveted acquisitions, Everhard Jabach (1618–1695) and His Family, ca. 1660, by French artist Charles Le Brun.

Charles Le Brun (French, Paris 1619–1690 Paris) Everhard Jabach (1618–1695) and His Family, ca. 1660 Oil on canvas; 110 1/4 × 129 1/8 in. (280 × 328 cm) The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Mrs. Charles Wrightsman Gift, in honor of Keith Christiansen, 2014 (2014.250) http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/626692

Through the Met’s social channels, fans and followers were able to view this typically veiled process from anywhere in the world. “Instead of working on it in secret for a year and then putting it out, we’ve already started blogging about it.” Viewer comments have ranged from questions surrounding oil paint solvents to expressions of gratitude for the ability to witness art history in the making.

One such commenter said, “Thank you for giving us the opportunity to see this fascinating work…. [R]eading about it does not convey the same image.”

Another asked, “How many more do we have to look forward to? I’m anxious to see the work in the gallery, but not so much that I wish you to rush, rush. I am enjoying my time!”

When it comes to choosing social media platforms, Sreenivasan advised that, depending on your business, you don’t always have to be on every network, and “there is no reason to be first [on a social media platform]. Join when it makes sense for you.” Sreenivasan reminded the audience of the potential minefield of controversy that social media platforms can become. “Almost everyone will miss everything you do until you make a mistake,” he cautioned. In the October 2014 New York Times article, Museums Morph Digitally, Amit Sood, director of the Google Cultural Institute in London, echoed this sentiment, “I learned not to underestimate museums. They were a little slow to the digital game. That’s a good thing.”

Slow to the digital game, perhaps, but well-conceived. Sreenivasan’s digital strategy at The Metropolitan Museum of Art has allowed this nearly 150 year-old institution to remain a timeless cultural mainstay while continually reinventing how it delivers art to art enthusiasts, based on their desires as they express them, from their smartphones to the front steps of the Museum itself.

BY THEO LEGRO

The Future of Omni-Channel: Insights, Innovations & Experiences

June 17, 2015

net-a-porterIn this technology-driven age, a common challenge for companies has been integrating new technologies into their existing business models, marketing and operations. This has been said to remain true for luxury brands. Convention has held that digital commerce is for the penny-wise. Research and consulting firm McKinsey dispels this perception. It reported that nearly 50% of luxury purchases are in fact influenced by digital. Warc’s Darika Ahrens aptly notes, “High-end income earners love high-end technology.”

Recognizing this, luxury fashion brand Rebecca Minkoff, an early adopter of new technologies in retail, is leading the way in immersive experiences that touch upon all senses to resonate with these digital-savvy, affluent consumers. Speaking at the Center Emily-Culp-BRITEon Global Brand Leadership’s BRITE ’15 conference, Emily Culp, Rebecca Minkoff’s SVP of eCommerce and Omni-Channel Marketing, discussed driving customer lifetime value by delivering multi-faceted experiences derived from technology, insights and organizational structure.

In 2014, Rebecca Minkoff launched its “Connected Stores” in New York and San Francisco. Culp explained that by leveraging beacon technology and RFID tags, Rebecca Minkoff offers consumers an even more personalized, integrated experience. “When [our customer] walks into the fitting room, it Rebecca-Minkoff-Connected-Storerecognizes merchandise and gives recommendations on what to wear [the item] with.” Interactive dressing room mirrors entice customers to browse video and content, order complimentary beverages, save merchandise options to their devices via the Rebecca Minkoff app, and check in-store and online inventory. Customers can even adjust fitting room lighting to reflect the setting in which they would don the outfit (i.e. “SoHo after dark”).

In developing experiences for their omni-channel consumer, the question Culp asks herself is straightforward: “How do we flawlessly execute this omni-channel marketing in such a complex ecosystem?” At BRITE ’15, she outlined four essential points to succeed at this:

  1. Leadership: the ability to embrace smart risk and experimentation
  2. Expertise: building teams with hybrid skill-sets (e.g. creativity combined with an understanding of metrics)
  3. Linkage: breaking down the silos to align the KPIs of different departments
  4. Communication: sharing insights even when they may seem irrelevant to another team. “Maybe they can take it in a different way that another hasn’t [considered],” explained Culp.

In particular, culling data from all touchpoints is at the foundation of their approach. “A lot of people think that data is boring,” she explains. “I inherently think this is one of the most creative and fascinating parts of marketing today.” Quantitative and qualitative insights paint a holistic picture of their consumer. “[W]e can see as she traverses across these different channels what her behavior is and help her make informed decisions when it’s right for her.”

Through research, Culp’s team discovered that their consumer checks her smartphone, on average, 150 times a day, spiking at different points depending on when she’s at work using her computer or at night on her tablet. “The constant is mobile. So for us, when we’re looking at omni-channel marketing… we start with mobile.”

Rebecca-Minkoff-App
Culp stresses the importance of not employing technology for technology’s sake. It should have a purpose. For Rebecca Minkoff, it’s using technology to seamlessly deliver value to consumers, relieving pain-points and empowering them to make informed decisions while shopping in-store and on any device at any time, anywhere in the world.

Check out Emily Culp’s talk at BRITE ’15 to hear more on developing omni-channel innovations and experiences to drive long-term value.

BY ALLIE ABODEELY

Think Disruptively to Transform Your Business

February 23, 2011

Disrupt by Luke Williams“The old mantra, ‘differentiate or die,’ is no longer relevant,” Luke Williams (a BRITE ’11 speaker) claims in his recently published Disrupt: Think the Unthinkable to Spark Transformation in Your Business. “The real mantra should be ‘differentiate all you want, but figure out a way to be the only one who does what you do, or die.'” Disrupt reflects Luke’s immense experience creating breakthrough solutions while working at frog design, one of the world’s leading innovation firms.  Luke has more than a decade of international strategy and design experience working with industry leaders like American Express, GE, Sony, Crocs, Virgin and Disney to develop new products, services and brands.

Disruptive thinking is “a way of thinking that turns consumer expectations upside down and takes an industry into its next generation.”  In his work with clients and as an Adjunct Professor of Innovation at NYU Stern School of Business, Luke provides a disruptive thinking framework that helps solve problems and create opportunities.

Reminiscent of our own Faculty Director Bernd Schmitt’s process of “killing sacred cows,” Luke details in an article for Mashable how to create disruptive hypothesis that smash your industry’s clichés to uncover innovative products and marketing strategies. In one example, he highlights Red Bull’s inversion of two standards in the soda category: that “soda is inexpensive” and that “soda tastes good.” Instead, “[Red Bull] placed absolutely no importance on taste, the product is double the price of Coca-Cola, and it dispensed with marketing aspirational images. The message was that Red Bull may not necessarily make you feel happy, but it’ll definitely give you a shot of energy when you need it.”

Hear Luke Williams speak at our BRITE ’11 conference (March 2-3, 2011). Register now!

BY MATTHEW QUINT

Business Models Based on Sharing

March 17, 2010

Robin Chase In 2009, Time Magazine named Robin Chase one of its 100 Most Influential People, thanks to her pioneering ideas on transportation, beginning with her successful founding of Zipcar.

Inspired by car-sharing models in Europe, Chase brought to life a “car rental by the hour” platform in the U.S. Through a simple usage proposition, word-of-mouth marketing, and great customer service, Zipcar has expanded enormously over its ten-year existence–eventually spurring similar offerings from the more established car rental companies.

In founding Zipcar, Chase was also driven by a desire to develop transportation business models that were more sustainable and ecologically balanced. So her next venture, GoLoco, is the first company to combine ridesharing, social networks, and easy payment to help reduce carbon emissions. She explains the importance of the concept to BusinessWeek,

I see GoLoco as an immediate solution. It means I don’t have to wait for the government to introduce carbon taxes or congestion charges, or put in smart development or light rail or transit. Today, with the infrastructure we have, we can do something which dramatically reduces costs and emissions.

To read more about this new idea and Chase’s views on transportation, cooperative capitalism, and technology, visit her blog.

To hear Robin Chase speak at BRITE ’10, register now.

BY MATTHEW QUINT

Culture Eats Strategy for Lunch

March 15, 2010

Dwayne SpradlinIn talking with one of his clients about the barriers to open innovation within an organization, Dwayne Spradlin, CEO and President of InnoCentive, received a wonderfully insightful quote: “Culture eats strategy for lunch.”

As Spradlin told BusinessWeek (podcast), the right culture is essential to making open innovation work. When leadership supports it from the top, Spradlin believes that “people will be extraordinary.” If middle-management receives the necessary permission to be creative and come up with new ideas, they will be the ones who drive open innovation.

Founded in 2001, InnoCentive works with a wide range of businesses to develop incentive-based innovation challenges. Solutions are found by a community of problem solvers spread all around the world. From running these challenges and working with clients, Spradlin offers the following advice for organizations looking to tap the power of an open innovation system:

  • Make sure that you create an innovation challenge only for tasks that you intend to move forward on.
  • Ask the right question–think of a specific “what if” question that might result in a business advancement, rather than just posing general business problems.
  • Harness a group of “problem facilitators” with the skills to develop the right questions and evaluate the solutions to your innovation challenges. This will improve the efficiency of the rest of your company when it moves forward with innovative ideas.

To hear Dwayne Spradlin speak at BRITE ’10, register now.

BY MATTHEW QUINT

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