As the world becomes more uncertain, it’s getting harder to predict the future. Most organisations don’t know yet who their customer is or what their product should be. And advertising often feels like shooting in the dark.
‘Agile’ and ‘lean’ methods pioneered by Silicon Valley have made it easier to learn what works faster — minimizing the risk, expense and time involved. So why aren’t Indian companies running more experiments that are vital for growth?
Often what counts as ‘innovation’ in India is usually:
- Jugaad or quick-fixes that prioritise short-term thinking.
- Incrementalism designed in response to competition.
- One man’s vanity project that’s driven from the top.
- Or reverse innovation which strips a product to make it cheaper and accessible to a large audience.
Rarely is it in response to a business or human problem. Is it any wonder then that advertising fails?
Furthermore, organisational hierarchy, departmental silos, petty politics, analysis-paralysis, lengthy processes and sign-offs-- prevalent in big companies kill experimentation and questioning--all vital ingredients for an entrepreneurial, startup culture.
The Lean approach, offers a framework for innovation that is being applied to every industry, every size of company to tackle a range of problems.
It’s not about being cheap. It’s about being less wasteful while still doing things that are big and impactful. If you consider the amount of 'ad-waste' our industry generates, it has some useful lessons to offer agencies about adding value to a client’s business:
1. Experiment frequently.
Build product and communication prototypes in good enough shape to gauge interest. All you need is to sell limited quantities online, harvest customer feedback in the form of sales, reviews and comments, then refine the product and marketing approach for subsequent rounds of expanded distribution.
2. Bake marketing into the process.
Assemble small, multi-disciplinary teams consisting of product, design and brand people that keep the customer in mind always.
3. Measure the right things, early.
Fall in love with the problem not the solution. Test the Big Idea and underlying assumptions early-- ask the right questions, measure progress, set milestones and prioritise what works.
At Studio Jigsaw, we work closely with client teams to define a problem, then test, refine and launch new ideas using sprints, accelerators and a hack mentality.
We see opportunities to tackle familiar problems in fresh ways, creating cultural impact and commercial value for brands. Lean is just a smarter way to get there.