On a recent visit I found one of the most interesting components of the Silicon Valley was observing innovative companies scrambling to monetise their offerings. I observed a range of different strategies in regard to how to go to market, with many innovators dreaming of one day being bought out by a global corporation such as Cisco, which acquires and integrates a new company every six weeks. But, for me, the stand out example was the polarity between the Facebook approach and that of LinkedIn. They were both incredibly effective innovation landscapes and yet LinkedIn appear to have monetised their offerings much more rapidly and effectively. Both of these companies attract advertising revenue but it is the subscriber assimilation and retention that makes LinkedIn the premium performer in this realm. Their ‘Go to Market Strategy’ is attractive to a demographic that has disposable income and is happy to use it, if it gives them competitive advantage. Both of these companies are basically social media shop fronts but it’s the service range and delivery that gives LinkedIn the ability to monetise.
In considering the social media link further in regards to monetising innovation I was reminded by Professor Donnel A Briley that, “marketing through social media is about relationship management”, Briley, in commenting on shifts in marketing, went on to say: ‘Product is shifting to Experiences, Pitches to Conversations and Consumers to Participants.’ These strategic statements are essential ingredients as a ‘Go to Market Strategy’ for us in the NFP sector and a key to monetising our organisation. Authors Aaker and Smith in discussing the weakness of NFPs to focus on innovation from a human centered design perspective comment: “Business leaders, non-profit organisation directors and political officials usually draft a ‘plan’ of action that is finalised before any action is taken, and is generally viewed as a silver bullet for success.” In the NFP world, we must be driven by human centered design by connecting more intently with the end user while creating an experience for the donor or investor. If the service, strategy or product won’t be used effectively it ceases to be innovative and becomes just one more good idea.
On a practical level the challenge for Metamorphic is not that we don’t innovate but that we have failed to monetise that innovation. Metamorphic primarily relies on donations from generous people to pay for us to deliver innovation to developing nations. And although that is fantastic, we at Metamorphic are looking at new ways to monetise our innovation so that we can secure our long term future as well as the long term future of our programs, projects and people. We have an amazingly creative and innovative team and we have now re orgainised for the future to extract the commercial value of those offerings and build a sustainable NFP.
Over the coming months the Metamorphic team will develop and launch not just amazing projects but also products and services that will undergird the economic engine room of all that we do. As part of this we are now consulting to other NFP’s on what we have discovered as we begin to coach others on how to innovate and then how to monetise that innovation.
Our final installment on innovation will be coming soon as we consider what it means to create an eco system of innovation.