Julie Dodd: Let's hear less of innovation, more of test and learn

Great fundraising ideas might go viral in mere hours, but coming up with them and getting them right takes patience, writes our digital expert

Julie Dodd
Julie Dodd

There have been some great innovations that charities have made the most of this year - think of #nomakeupselfie and the ice bucket challenge. But sometimes innovation can be a dangerous word. It can bring a raft of associations with it - overnight success, instant fame, a flood of money, advocates, volunteers. It can all be a bit short-termist.

When organisations want to innovate, they often focus exclusively on coming up with a great idea. But they forget about what it actually takes to make that idea a success. It takes patience. In 2003, Movember launched with just 30 pieces of facial furniture. Eleven years later, it's a global phenomenon.

Social media platforms are no longer a free lunch when it comes to audience exposure

It takes thought. Good ideas have psychological resonance and they take time - and proper research - to uncover. JustTextGiving, for example, uncovered a very simple truth: that people intend to give to charity, but don't always get round to it.

It takes consideration. To create inspiring, positive change, you need to invest as much time and money in how you'll get the idea out there as in developing it. Social media platforms are no longer a free lunch when it comes to audience exposure.

When we say "we want to be innovative", what are we really trying to do? What we're always trying to do: solve challenges. It might be to make more money, convert more advocates, improve our brand image or any one of a dozen other objectives. But whatever the solution looks like - especially if it's a genuine innovation - we must learn that it's no different from any other creative process. We need to iterate, ask for help, test and learn. And sometimes we need to tear it up and start again.

Julie Dodd is creative director, UX, at Zone

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