Concept Innovation: What Does it Take to Innovate?

As of today, statistics show that 260,000 people in America drive electric cars. For those currently in the market for an automobile purchase, an electric car might seem like an impractical form of transportation. Electric cars are dissimilar from gas-powered vehicles, as evidenced by the shortage of charging stations in relation to Chevron locations on stretches of open road. And accessing a full charge reportedly takes hours, so in the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, why would a driver choose to spend thousands of dollars on such non-traditional methods of transport?

At a Tesla event in October 2014 in Los Angeles, the brand’s CEO and Chief Product Architect, Elon Musk revolutionized the way in which we think about electric cars, and may have left a lasting imprint on their perceived reputation in the coming years. To really “rev the engines” of auto-hungry consumers, the new Tesla Model D features a dual motor, meaning the car has more power and more efficiency than its predecessors. With a starting sticker price of $89k, the car goes 0 to 60 in 3.2 seconds, contains a photo and radar system that works up to 150 miles per hour, and parks itself.

I have to admit, I do love Musk’s thinking here. While electric cars aren’t an entirely new concept, Tesla has certainly altered the entire concept of what it means to park one of these vehicles in your garage. What we once considered an impossible feat is now totally within reason – and then some.[quote] Tesla took a grand idea, made it even better, and then released it out into the world.[/quote]

As Tesla shows us, novel ideas – often mixed in with a little good old fashioned elbow grease during the concept development phase – always have the opportunity to be reworked and improved. At our Orlando marketing agency, we refer to this as “optimization”, or, in agile and lean methodologies, the industry buzzword used is often “iteration”. It is through this iteration in the Tesla automobile example – coupled with constantly striving for continued enhancement – that gas-guzzling sedans become hybrids, which in turn, become electric cars, and eventually, super-powered electric sports cars.

So what really motivates, or in this case, “drives” us, to take these types of conceptual risks when the end result could prove disastrous? What does it take to drive concept innovation? Perhaps it’s the notion that taking a chance on a new idea could be radical enough that its change is seen and felt around the globe. Musk prides himself on his work ethic, often mentioning the innate ability to work upwards of 100 hours per week. This innovative spirit can’t solely be attributable to his intense corporate commitment – even as the company’s CEO, I have to believe that the stimulus for success must be as a result of a much larger motivating factor.

The Musk family prides itself on this willingness to take risks. In this case, with the forethought to implement a radical idea by delivering a revolutionary product that, in turn, incited change in the automotive industry in real, tangible ways. As marketers, business owners, and experts, I believe that it is this ability to stand behind a vision and go out on a limb – when the potential for professional failure may be the ultimate outcome – that creates truly noteworthy brand and product innovation.

It’s not enough to purely be driven by revenue, it’s about delivering actionable changes in the way we see and interact with the world. There is no doubt that although there is a major, well-publicized dependence on oil in our country, the reason Musk is interested in electric cars is because he understands that this may be the way we will be mobilized in the future.

As an industry professional, I encourage you to ponder what it is – product, service, or idea – that you’re conceptualizing, and any possible ways that you may be able to iterate and improve upon it. Whether this pertains to providing your customers with an enhanced service experience,  or in taking a thought-provoking marketing campaign, and making it even more impactful. Think critically about how your service or product may positively impact your target audience, and in a greater respect, its potential to create societal change. And remember, all is not lost if you find yourself constrained by a restrictive budget – uncover opportunities to innovate that may be low- to no-cost for your business. They do exist, and oftentimes, provide far greater return on investment than those opportunities that require a substantial allocation of your marketing dollars.

While we all may not make an impact on our industry in as revolutionary a way as Elon Musk has succeeded in doing in his, we can still seek to impact the lives of our customers. The team of strategists at BIGEYE’s Orlando advertising agency possesses the expertise to help you kickstart concept innovation for your brand. For budget-friendly ideas to create innovative concepts, contact us today!

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