A new insight into innovation; with Kelly Dawson
Our very own Kelly Dawson has an exciting new role at KD; Head of Insight & Innovation. We wanted to ask her a few questions as Kelly embarks on her new KD journey…
“Having experience in your career in both consultancy and client side, what would you say are the areas where consultancy teams like KD can add most value to client businesses?”
There are two clear areas, that clients can benefit from what KD has to offer. Firstly, agility. In today’s business climate, clients are looking for leaner and more responsive approaches to their challenge. With a wide span of expertise areas at KD, we often connect multi-discipline areas to enable projects to develop at pace and benefit from different perspectives and skills. We adopt a sprint approach on many projects to enable iterative and faster learning.
Secondly, cross-pollinating knowledge and thinking from different sectors can be incredibly powerful. Whilst different sectors might feel very distant, there is a lot they can learn from each other. Take for example, consumer healthcare. There is a great opportunity to build an outstanding brand experience, combined with the rigour and regulatory requirements that are required in the medical sector. To access two very different knowledge areas and bring them together can be extremely influential.
“So, what do you see being the biggest challenges and most interesting opportunities for insight and innovation?”
It has to be one of the most widely publicised topics we’ve seen in recent times – Sustainability. More specifically, combating the level of single-use plastic, particularly relevant for the FMCG sector.
There is a great opportunity for innovation to have a positive impact on the planet, providing there is a compelling reason for consumers to change behaviour. We don’t believe recycling or new materials are the answer to such a complex challenge. There is potential to make this worse for the planet when considering both waste and carbon footprint. Unlocking the reuse model and using plastic smartly has the potential to deliver an effective circular economy that should be beneficial to the planet, business and consumers.
Understandably, the level of solutions needed can’t be implemented overnight with existing infrastructure. However, there is an urgency to start. Whilst incremental changes will start the journey, we recommend building a vision for what this should be for a long-term horizon to reflect the ambition. Then you can define a roadmap for how you’re going to get there.
“The word ‘Innovation’ is used a lot and can mean different things to different to people. What does ‘innovation’ mean to you?”
Innovation is about offering something new to the world. It’s not about tweaks and features of products to evolve an experience, it’s an entirely new product or platform that creates new meaning to transform or create a category and generate business growth.
“So to work successfully in this area and drive positive change and impact for clients, what values and experiences do you look for when growing your team?”
The ability to look both at the big picture and think strategically, as well as zoom in and understand the detail is important for insight and innovation. Identifying connections and making sense of ambiguity is key within the team, which is an invaluable skill and often overlooked. We often look for ‘T’ shaped people with an area of depth and specialism, but also a breadth of skills. Overall, we believe diversity leads to creativity, and those with a range of experiences add a great perspective to both the team and the quality of work.