BMA – Innovation Day @ Adobe


“Vision without execution is hallucination”

Adobe realized that many profitable inventions came from determined employees who persisted despite management.

innovator.pngThe biggest mistake a company can make is not poorly executing a new product idea, but executing a wrong product idea.  How to assure that more product ideas are right?  Invest into an innovation process within the company; create a program to generate innovators, rather than innovations.

Kickbox program:

  • does not attempt to change the organization
  • teaches the organization how to use initiative
  • explains that “you may not get fired” while pursuing innovation 🙂

The approach assumes that established organizations most likely won’t support innovation.  As a result; a specific approach to “corporate innovation” need to be designed.

Adobe VP of Creativity was not initially successful in encouraging innovation, then, he received a recommendation to think about company’s innovation system as a product (as he was very successful in creating and bringing successful products to the market).  Interesting, this approach is very consistent with “thinking in new boxes” concept.


Kickbox program:

  • The program starts with 2-day workshop, which everybody in the organization can attend.  The company is looking for outliers, and expects 1 hit product for 1000 kickboxes.
  • The red kickbox includes instruction on innovation process and prepaid $1,000 credit card.  The money planned to be used to test the idea with the potential customers before even telling management about the idea.
  • Why not give employees 10% time, etc. to pursue innovation?   The main objective of the program is to teach employees how to innovate, how to navigate corporate environment and how to “sell” the idea to management and recruit coworkers to help on initial stages of the project.
  • There are no reviews or follow up: “…people are bold and crazy when we are not looking…”  This program is highest rated employee training program.
  • Next step is a blue box, given by a real manager in the organization who is willing to fund the next level of testing.

Adobe open-sourced the program, which is now translated into many different languages.

Ah – I wish this program was available 15 years ago…  As most of my career was built “under the table” in a variety of large organizations.  I understand the benefit of learning how to sell projects to coworkers and management very well 😉

Content Marketing

Content marketing approach can switch from “thinly veiled sales materials” that are highly branded to lightly branded materials.  It requires a change of thinking like a marketer to thinking like a publisher (thinking how to give people something worth subscribing to).

Speaker recommended a spectacular keynote by Andrew Davis.

If you are a marketer who is doubting the benefit of a newsletter (and its lead generating capability), you will love ideas and arguments in the presentation!

Andrew gives three recommendations for content marketers:

  • discover your niche
  • exploit content holes
  • make an appointment with your audience

Andrew also emphasizes the difference between “branded content” and “content brand.”


Six Flags – VR Rollercoaster


Six Flags was the first company to use VR in parks.  The additional equipment slowed the lines to the rides (insignificantly) and additional cleaning service needed to be added (as head sets are cleaned after each use.

Interesting: it is possible to try Samsung VR sets in Samsung stores without purchasing.  As the technology is new, Six Flags rides help popularizing the experience and technology.

negroni.pngCompari – success with an approach not used in the industry

Compari, an established brand of alcoholic beverage wanted to expand its customer base.  As an organization had limited marketing budgets, marketers used charitable donations as an approach to increase brand awareness.

Compari is a part of a drink popular among bartenders, which allows creativity in the process of creation of the drink – Negroni. The company sponsors “Negroni week,” during which time bartenders can select a charity of their choice, and Compari will donate portion of proceeds from Compari sales into that charity.  As bartenders are very involved in the community, they are free to select the charity dear to their customers’ hearts and promote Negroni week in their bar.

Charitable approach has been used successfully by other brands (shoes – Toms, and eyeglasses – Warby Parker), but have not been tried in the alcoholic beverages industry before Compari’s campaign.


Adobe Content marketing fact:

Individuals consuming evergreen content generated by company’s subject matter experts are 178% more likely to convert.  

Also, employee’s using social media seem to be more effective in promoting company’s content than the company itself.



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