How Top Innovators Sell Big Ideas, FutureM Recap

Posted by Taylor Haney on Fri, Oct 31, 2014

We are wrapping up the month of October with a great recap from FutureM. Hayley Prendergast, Associate Manager for the Integrated Marketing Group at AMP Agency highlights some key take-aways from one of our sessions on selling innovative ideas.

Hayley PrendergastHayley Prendergast is an Associate Manager for the Integrated Marketing Group at AMP Agency of Boston. At AMP, she helps to drive the strategy behind new business opportunities to tell a compelling story about AMP’s integrated and innovative offerings. Her experience at AMP has allowed her to gain a deep understanding of multiple industries and provided her access to exclusive industry events, such as MITX’s FutureM.

Her background is in sports marketing where she worked with two popular athletic brands, gaining insight into various categories of work including retail, digital marketing, ecommerce, sports partnerships and grassroots initiatives. Beyond digital and sports marketing, Hayley is also a retired Division 1 college soccer player, avid runner, YouTube aficionado, and currently serves on AMP’s Culture Team, adding “spirit” to the agency in various ways.

I went to FutureM to learn from the best in the business. I was excited to hear from the renowned innovators responsible for developing the brands we all know and love, those who have transformed the way we embrace the digital age, and those who are on the front lines setting the tone for the “Next. Big. Thing.”

Enter Ben Jones. As the Creative Director at Google, Jones calls on the best technology, media and storytelling this industry has to offer, working in tandem with creative and media agencies in order to build, develop and accelerate brands towards realizing their ultimate potential.

Considering this, I was thrilled to attend his session at MITX’s FutureM, “The Idea is the Easy Part: Selling Innovative Ideas.” Jones’ session focused on taking your idea from concept to reality. His main points were:

1. Nobody will love it as much as you. Recognize this truth, accept it – and then embrace this responsibility. Traction is gained when belief is so strong and energetic that it is impossible to resist. This belief, passion and energy has to emanate from you. No one is out there just waiting for your innovative idea. Step up to the challenge, start small by convincing a few collaborators and do not surrender to fear or doubt. Utilize these little wins and initial challenges to evolve your idea.

amp blog 62. Before you build it, right it. In other words, don’t build out your idea – or even explore the “whats” and “hows” - until you have figured out whether the idea is worth building. The answer here is founded in testing, or as Google calls it, Pretotyping. This process involves building a mock product to subject to concept testing. In other words, let the data speak for itself. Understanding what will actually work and not work in the real world is key to idea buy-in.

3. Don’t run from risk, leverage it. It is vital to understand what risks you can afford to take. Once you establish where to focus risk, you must spend the remainder of energy eliminating all other potential risks. One way to potentially soften risk is to draw links to and
illuminate relevant successes. For example, the Citi Bike phenomenon that has swept New York City was a long, hard-fought battle to sell-in. New York neighborhoods were initially highly resistant to the idea. However, leveraging the success of other bike programs in cities such as Boston and Chicago helped New Yorkers eventually see the light and become believers. Seeing the parallel success calmed fears of risking failure.

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4. Connect innovation to heartstrings. In other words, even innovative ideas need to be told with a story. Present your idea by creating a story that paints a picture of how the idea will work, from soup to nuts. What human truth or challenge will the idea address? How will it become a part of lives everywhere and integrate into existing systems? How will it effectively solve or build on the human truth it addresses?

All in all, and with each of the of above four steps considered, I surmised the big takeaway as being although the creative thinking begins with the idea, it’s the proof of process and human story that carries an idea to success. So tell us – what’s YOUR big idea? Will you follow the tips outlined to bring it to life?