Media & Tech Tuesday - Innovation

Last week, we hosted a round-table lunch at The Delaunay restaurant, with leading technology and digital media law firm Kemp Little LLP.

Chaired by Oscar Jazdowski, Head of UK Origination for Silicon Valley Bank, the table discussed (under Chatham House rule) some of the challenges in building and capturing value in the sector, and the best ways to overcome them.

With attendees from specialist software providers, major online players, and leading creative agencies, the discussion was wide-ranging and thought provoking. In this article we focus on the discussion of innovation:

Innovation and Monetisation

How to foster innovation within an organisation? What’s the best ecostystem for fostering innovation? – well, as one person commented, “a lot of booze helps!”

The table discussed unstructured and more structured ways to encourage innovation, including how to make multi-disciplinary teams work in practice, and the balance between internal and external innovation.

Client/Customer Caution Might Hold You Back

But monetising these good ideas can be harder than coming up with them in the first place.

Attendees noted that clients/customers are not always very brave when it comes to accepting innovative ideas, and that their caution may end up holding you back. They might not even be ready for what you can offer them now, let alone what your teams might come up with next. Bringing your clients along with you is key to monetisation.

Planning Strategically in the Face of Rapid Change

The speed of innovation within the marketplace also creates challenges; with technologies developing so quickly, and such a volume of new technologies reaching the market, it can be difficult to plan strategically for anything beyond the short-term.

The Role of Money

The table discussed the availability of cash as both a spur to and impediment of innovation.

With it, innovations can flourish and develop from good ideas into real products/services. But without it, innovation is often forced, and the best ideas are born of constraint and necessity.

This creates a challenge for management – how to constrain cash to prompt initial innovation, then to make it available to encourage successful productisation and monetisation. The table debated some of the ways to strike the right balance here.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll post on some of the other themes explored around the table, including how to manage talent both before and after the sale, how to position a business for exit, and lessons learned the hard way by those who’ve been through a sale before.

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