Written by Alex – CEO of Cambie + Co.
Failure = Learning from experience
Experience = A catalogue of past failures
There’s a lot happening up here in Newcastle at the minute, and it’s great that we are able to make the most of these opportunities! We recently were lucky enough to grab a spot back in March on a very cool-sounding programme that we spotted in BQLive called ‘Get Ready To Innovate’ – the combined forces of Creative FUSE and Northumbria University.
Being completely honest, I didn’t know what to expect. I knew that it was going to be 3-hour workshops over 3 consecutive Wednesdays, but that was it! In fact, I believed it was just going to be some cool presentations on innovation. I was completely wrong. I walked into the Northern Design Centre in Gateshead on the 7th March and was led to a room, which very quickly filled with people. I assumed we were all business owners. It didn’t take long before it became clear that in fact only 8 of us were the business owners, and everyone else in the room was students and lecturers, here to help the 8 of us create innovation processes in our businesses over the next 3 weeks. Before I knew it, I had 2 Masters students and a lecturer working with me on my own business. It was absolutely fantastic.
What I am about to show you are the processes we developed and used that led to Cambie + Co.’s very exciting new offering, a Live Event Promotion Service.
Are you innovation-ready?
The first thing we talked about at GRTI was innovation-readiness, and how to find out if you are innovation-ready. We followed these 3 steps:
- Understand what the opportunity is
- Understanding the environment it operates in (and will operate in, in the future)
- Understanding the change(s) required in order to realise the opportunity
We explored my entire business – where it is at present and reflecting on the past. We basically constructed a ‘big picture’ (literally) view of Cambie + Co. and how it currently operates. From this, I brought up the idea of a Live Event Promotion Service, which I had come up with a short while ago but didn’t know where to begin in developing the idea.
The program was ‘design-led’. This means being able to see a situation, new product, service or idea, from the perspectives of people who will affect it or be affected by it. For example, these questions come from design-led thinking…
- What do your existing customers think?
- What are the pain points and how can you build from those?
- Understand those who don’t buy from you…why?
Mark Bailey, a very kind human being, fellow Renault-driver, and Director of Innovation Design at Northumbria University, describes a ‘Design Thinking’ as…
“A collaborative activity that provides opportunities for all stakeholders to contribute their knowledge, expertise, experience and creativity in addressing a common issue – finding solutions to complex, networked problems.”
I was incredibly excited to see how all this fancy thinking and process-making would help me bring more innovation to Cambie + Co.
Session 1: Modelling the Business
The first session involved mapping out the current and future picture of Cambie + Co. I really enjoyed this session. It was crazy being able to see my whole journey since August 2017, when I launched the business, mapped out in a visual format. The students I had working with me were tough-going! In a good way, of course. They questioned me on every tiny thing in my business that I hadn’t even thought about before. For example, how do I contact my clients/potential clients? By email of course…
Hands up if you’re too scared to pick up the phone. ✋?
I was completely honest with myself and the students. I am too scared to pick up the phone! Emailing is the ‘easy’ option because there’s no pressure to answer a question within a couple of seconds and you have time to think about what you want to say and how you want to word it. But, of course, picking up the phone is probably the second most effective method of communication, with the first being face to face communication. Not to mention, if I want Cambie + Co. to be all about modernising and innovating ways of communicating with your audience, I should probably put email on the backburner. Just for the record, since this session, I have now been picking up the phone when it can be used in place of an email.
This was just one of many things we talked about in terms of current processes within the business. We mapped out everything from how I got my first clients, to how I work with my team. We also talked in depth about all the different projects I’m working on and ideas I have – I think they got the gist that I am highly excitable and have way too many ideas for one lifetime!
The purpose of this session was so scope out a set of innovation opportunities. And what was the opportunity we decided to focus on? An idea I had been playing with for a while…a Live Event Promotion service.
Session 2: Modelling the Opportunity
During the second week’s session, we dug deep into my live event idea and mapped it out. We started by establishing: Who our current audience consists of, what the relationship between social media campaigns and live event feeds is, what we need to run a live event feed, who our competitors are for this service, who we need to bring in, and so forth.
This session was all about establishing exactly what we need in order to take this idea forward. For example, our ‘enablers’ included a successful pilot, a team, and a solid contract. We then talked about the difficulties in getting this idea off the ground – communicating to businesses that this is a very valuable investment, as well as legalities and insurance for carrying out this type of work. This was followed by determining the desired impact for both Cambie + Co. and the client, the business outcomes, and finally, the risk of such innovation.
I had never explored an idea using this method before – it was so in-depth, but also covered all the areas that were essential when innovating within your business. One of the main things I learned in this session was the importance of being honest and true with yourself. Is there a big risk associated with this idea? Be honest about it, rather than hiding from it, and innovate around it.
Session 3: Detailing the Opportunity
This session was super fun as we were able to look way ahead into the future and get really ambitious! Based on the live event idea (which was now well on its way to becoming a full-blown packaged service), we mapped out the next 3 years of Cambie + Co. We set targets as to how many pilots we wanted to run and by when, as well as when we wanted to carry out our first paid-for Live Event Promotion. Somehow, we ended up having Cambie + Co. move to Vancouver in 3 years time. They did tell me to be ambitious!
In the short term, it was about identifying various events, companies, and organisations to approach in order to get a deeper understanding of what will/won’t work and refine our proposition.
Overall, what an amazing program. The result?
Cambie + Co. – Our Live Event Promotion Service.
Live content is often the most popular and impactful on social media. There are a number of reasons for this – one being that people love to feel like they are involved in something and are getting a sneak peek in real time. For example, when a supermodel films a Live Video at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, everyone tunes in because they want an insider look into what it’s really like being at this event. It feels exclusive. On the other hand, the attendees want a hashtag they can use so they feel like they are being seen and contributing something when posting online during an event. How many influencers do you see at London Fashion Week using the branded hashtag during the event? Loads! Although I am using fashion shows as an example here, this can be applied to any event. From a nightclub event to a business conference, summit, or product launch, there’s something to be said for merging the online world with the offline world. Take the conversation online and have your attendees communicate with each other in a way that wasn’t possible only a few short years ago. Aside from that, make sure that those who didn’t attend your event see how amazing it is from the live content flying out – from both your feed and your attendees’ feeds – and they are much more likely to purchase a ticket for your next one, or purchase the product you are promoting through your event.
The options really are endless. The whole vision behind our idea is to take the pressure of social media off the organisers’ hands, allowing them to focus more on running the show and allow us to take care of showing the world their hard work. Want to make the most of your upcoming event? Find out more at https://cambieandco.com/live-event-promotion/
We hope you enjoyed our latest post and have a better understanding of how you could go about expanding on an idea – no matter how big or small it may be! For more information on Creative FUSE, check out http://www.creativefusene.org.uk/. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter at @cambieandco for more updates like this!