Born: New York
How would you characterize innovation in your work? To me, innovation is initiating change for the better. It is challenging status quo and red tape, and it is bringing to life the 'what if' scenarios that many think are impossible.
Name an innovative idea or business solution for which you are most proud? The award winning Xerox Custom Cover Program is a great exhibit of innovation. Rather than talk about applications of Xerox technology in a traditional ad, this program enabled us to bring the technology to life. It allowed subscribers to customize their own cover online and then have their issue of a favorite magazine printed with the customized cover and mailed to them.
Why do people see you as an innovator? I'm not convinced that one person can be an innovator; especially in communications. Yes, I help challenge the norm and develop new ways of getting messages out to consumers, but when it comes to implementation I am not alone. Behind most innovative ideas are excellent teams that assist in developing a concept and ultimately bringing it to life. A solid team environment is the groundwork for development of innovative ideas. By starting everyday with a clean slate and approaching everything with an optimistic attitude I am doing what I feel is necessary to create that environment.
What is the role of innovation in marketing strategy? The days of passive marketing consumption are long gone. Integrating innovation into strategy development lays the groundwork for engagement between a brand and a consumer; it allows for a dialogue between the two rather than a monologue from marketer to audience. Innovation cannot be forced. For example, an idea may be innovative but if it doesn't achieve the objectives set forth than what was its purpose?
What is the biggest challenge you face in applying thinking to international projects? Inclusion/Exclusion is certainly a challenge. Too many participants can leave a great idea on the cutting room floor or dilute a concept to the point where it loses its uniqueness. Implementation of a strategy in a market/region that was not involved in the initial development is often met with hesitation. Levels of authority need to be identified in the initial phases of planning so that there are minimal barriers as the process proceeds.
Other International Facts: Did pro-bono work on the UN Stand Up against Poverty Campaign which extended into over 100 markets.