So far this year, the word "innovation" has appeared more than 150 times in articles in BusinessWeek, more than 500 times in the Wall Street Journal, and more than 600 times in both the New York Times and Financial Times. All have mentioned innovation more often this year than during the same period in 2008. The topic also has been the focus of numerous blog posts and broadcast news segments.
What does this mean for PR practitioners and other business communicators?
For starters, innovation has driven the lion’s share of the changes that have made the media landscape as fragmented, competitive and unpredictable as it is today. And innovation begets more innovation, as we all look for new and more compelling ways to reach audiences with our messages. What’s more, communications and marketing professionals often must be leaders in conveying the innovations that occur in any industry – and their potential impact. And even inside the organizations and brands we represent, internal communicators should help encourage and inspire innovation.
In this issue of Perspectives, we explore innovation from all of those angles. In "Voices of Influence," we interview Lance Pressl, co-founder of an organization called InnovateNow, which seeks to bring more innovation to the U.S. Midwest and has become a model for similar initiatives around the country. We also feature Ketchum's own chief innovation officer, Karen Strauss, discussing how social media is driving innovation in corporate and brand communications.
In "Viewpoints," Ralf Langen, head of change and transformation for Ketchum Pleon, a new unit of Ketchum formed from Ketchum's recent merger with Pleon, now the largest PR firm in Europe, outlines three critical components for an innovative organizational culture. And Daniel Dworkin, a consultant for Stromberg Consulting, Ketchum's employee engagement firm, reviews social media tools that enable crowdsourcing.
In a section called "Innovation Stories," we share five Ketchum-created comic strips that highlight innovative PR approaches our clients have used successfully. This is the first time the comic strips, called The Innovation Chronicles of Kaptain Clairvoyant, have been shared outside our agency. In the second part of "Innovation Stories," we offer brief profiles of three individuals who have been recognized as innovators in the fields of education, urban healthcare and bicycle design, and we ask each of them three questions about innovation.
We also examine the relationship between innovation and creativity in this issue's "Roundtable Discussion," with eight of Ketchum's most creative and strategic thinkers from countries that include China, Germany, Italy, Spain, the U.K. and the U.S.
In our "Street Smarts" section we share a few interesting statistics on global innovation, and we ask you, our readers, to rank our Top 10 Communications Innovations of the past decade.
As always, I hope you find the information in this issue of Perspectives both informative and useful. I’d be interested to hear what you think. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.