London and New York City have comparable populations, and are seen as the Western World’s urban colossi but how does the New York Innovation market compare to London.
Their bustling economies have afforded careers for millions and, in both cities, the creative industries underpin a sizeable economic output. Marketing Consulting Services, a sub-sector of the creative industry, is one of the fastest-growing areas with services ranging from innovation strategy and proposition design, to customer experience and digital transformation. It is this sector we place the spotlight on.
Talking to Nick Jones, a leading innovation strategy practitioner who held senior roles at both ?What If! on both sides of the Atlantic, and Inzenka, helps us uncover how the markets differ.
In your experiences of working in both London and New York, how does the innovation strategy industry differ?
It’s not dissimilar in terms of projects and scale. Possibly the US is seeing more entrants from the incubators and digital innovation shops who are much more focused on producing ‘product’ whether that is prototypes, apps etc., rather than simply the ‘idea’.
What they certainly have in common is that the agenda has changed. Clients no longer just want ideas – ‘we have enough of those’. They want to know how to pick the winners and move off the slideware and into revenues.
Are clients focusing on breakthrough/ higher risk innovation and category leaps vs. incremental innovation? And, if so, does this differ between London and New York?
A lot of clients will start talking about innovation and growth in the context of the category leaps: it’s exciting and seductive. The reality is that most / almost all are looking for something a little closer to home. Something beyond incremental brand or product extensions, but more accessible to the capabilities, resources and risk sensitivity of the organisation.
That said, being able to stretch the clients’ thinking toward the breakthrough helps to push the thinking, and ensure the ideas aren’t too ‘incremental’.
It’s not that different between countries: the only real observation is that there needs to be a lot more stakeholder consensus to engage in an innovation project in the US than in the UK.