02/10/2012

By Caroline Coles

Unlearning what you know, making mistakes, taking action: these are the key characteristics of innovation that Chris Morris, creator of the Orange Brand, discussed in the Like Minds’ talk ‘Innovation: The Emmersive’ on 26th September held at the Adam Street Club. According to Chris, the term ‘innovation’ is often misunderstood in a lot of organizations. It is much more than the creation of original ideas; it is being able to put these ideas into practice whether they succeed or not. The path to success isn’t always a straightforward one, and as Chris explained, you may often fail before you succeed.

During his time as CMO of Virgin Atlantic he spent many days flinging ideas around the boardroom. This often resulted in some far-fetched and ridiculous suggestions, such as Chris’ plan to send real apples in a promotional bid to raise awareness of Virgin Atlantic’s new flights to New York, a.k.a. ‘The Big Apple’. Unfortunately this ‘innovative’ approach to marketing led to some bomb squad complications, but despite this, the company is still constantly coming up with exciting marketing campaigns that attract attention today.

It was through such entertaining stories from his past professional life that Chris emphasized the point that businesses will rarely succeed without taking a few risks. Innovation is not about being safe and constricting ideas, it is about putting your company out there and attracting attention. As James Moffat the MD or Organic Development later went on to say, innovation is about ‘focusing on the practical stuff’.