In a recent speech given at Scott Dorsey’s Exact Target Connections Conference, Rockfish CEO Kenny Tomlin noted that a company’s average time on the S&P 500 over the last century has dropped from 57 to 18 years. The reason, he said is that “we’ve had so much innovation happening at the infrastructure level. And it’s happening quicker than it ever has.”Innovation, like acceleration, is an equation based on relative performance.
And for those of us – like me – who had to look it up to remember: Acceleration, in physics, is change in velocity divided by change in time.
Or in marketing innovation terms how quickly you are able to evolve…your products, your offering, your organization, etc….
To take the physics analogy a step further, “Everything is relative” – so innovation must be benchmarked against that of the marketplace as a whole.
Data creation is speeding up. So is urbanization—by 2030, 6 out of every 10 people on the planet will live in a city. And the cost of software development and storage is dropping fast. In response, organizational change is transforming businesses in every sector from top to bottom and inside out.
I was recently quoted in Variety regarding Steve Burke’s thoughtful leadership moves at NBCUniversal as saying, “As the marketplace continues to evolve, the job descriptions change, and as the job descriptions change, sometimes you’re not just rearranging, you’re recasting.”
Most of the executives at the top of organizations have had to adopt technology at the same rate—in too many cases arguably even slower–than most consumers. So they have created entirely new job categories that are responsible for identifying and activating technology, and disseminating those learnings across the organization.
To take this to its logical extension, you could say that soon all good chief digital officers will be chief operating officers, and vice versa.
At Omnicom media services agency PHD, for example, Craig Atkinson has two titles: chief operating officer and chief digital officer. Combining the traditional roles of an executive leader with technological responsibility recognizes what we at MediaLink call “digital literacy.”
But it doesn’t end there. At the “job responsibility” level, meanwhile, we see folks increasingly being hired for multi-disciplinary jobs that force collaboration across an organization at the strategy and implementation level.
At General Electric, Andy Goldberg is now into his second year as the company’s Global Creative Director, a job created to unify the voice with which the marketer speaks to its various constituencies. He is responsible for partnering with all creative entities – from agencies to internal content creators – to ensure that the external expression of GE’s brand is consistent. He works side-by-side with the creative teams at GE’s agencies but he also manages the media agency and other partners to find new ways to leverage what the company offers.
It’s an unusual role for a client to have and requires an expanded skill set. Andy displays all the expected account and brand management traits, but additionally, has a keen creative talent. A mix that’s not just rare for a client, but in the marketing industry writ large.
Not for long, though. Very soon, we will see the ascendance of a next generation of executives trained to adopt, evolve, and develop technologies at a far more rapid pace than their predecessors. They will use technology as natural tools, not as an “other” to be studied or benchmarked. And that, of course, will result in even more organizational change and innovation.
And whatever form that change takes, you can count on one thing: it will come fast.
To paraphrase my partner, Wenda Harris Millard in her days as a DoubleClick founding team member, “Innovation kills…If you don’t have it.”
To see Kenny Tomlin’s speech: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VfxBtYbik-0
To see a great example of the fruits of Andy Goldberg’s work: http://focusforwardfilms.com/