Creating teams. Shaping futures.

ADLIB is invited to join the Weston College Industry Advisory Board (IAB)

Here at ADLIB, we are proud to share that we have been invited to be on the Weston College Industry Advisory Board (IAB). With the tech industry evolving at pace, Weston College has established this Digital Industry Advisory Board with the purpose to have direct input into the college curriculum.

Digital Industry Advisory Board members include ADLIB, UK Hydrographic Office, Zircon, TechSPARK, Ascot Group and Cardstream. The first meeting was held in April and boards will meet digitally three times a year to review and progress a tech education action plan, delivered by Weston College. Key objectives include raising the profile and awareness of the diverse range of careers and courses with both learners and employers and creating collaborative projects to address some of the challenges employers face when building a team for their business.

Dave Crew, Head of Business Growth and Employer Partnership at Weston College said: “We have seen a significant increase in the number of tech jobs in the West of England, specifically in Bristol, in the past 5 years. This sector growth has coincided with tech related courses being one of the fastest growing areas of our areas of our provision at Weston College, following our investment in a University Centre at the Winter Gardens in Weston-super-Mare. The Digital Industry Advisory Board will bring leading regional tech employers together to inform the current and future tech curriculum at Weston College, ensuring our graduates enter the workforce as both highly-skilled and confident employees, ready to be an asset to a business. I am delighted that ADLIB have agreed to join our Digital Industry Advisory Board, and share their expertise of finding exciting talent and building tech teams for businesses. I’m looking forward to seeing the results of this exciting project, connecting industry and education.”

More about Weston College this way.

Weston College is one of the largest education providers in the UK with over 30,000 course enrolments annually. The College has seen its digital technology education provision grow significantly in the past three years, a result of its investment in STEM related courses, and state-of-the-art facilities including its University Centre, based at the Winter Gardens in Weston-super-Mare which has seen an £18m redevelopment in the town. There is a recognition that Weston College, alongside universities in the region, has the future workforce for employers.

Ask The Expert – Why is measuring innovation so difficult?

Today, we are sharing the wisdom of Phil Atherton, Co-founder at Solverboard. Solverboard is a new platform that helps leaders of innovation, change and transformation to find the best ideas, align them to their company goals, streamline their delivery, and measure and report on their value.

The purpose of our article series ‘Ask The Expert’ is to capture and share Tech, Data, Marketing and Creative sector expertise. Local. Authentic. Insightful. We are featuring experts, thought leaders and influencers. Showcasing sector wisdom learned through experience.

We asked Phil “Can you share your thoughts around the topic ‘why measuring innovation is so difficult?”

Phil Atherton:
Proving the value of innovation isn’t easy. At Solverboard we’re starting a conversation about getting better at measuring the work we all do.

How can you prove the value of innovation when it’s so hard to measure? According to our latest findings, businesses consider this their biggest innovation challenge. We turned these findings into a report on the top innovation blockers if you’re interested in knowing more.

There’s no arguing with the fact that businesses recognise the importance of innovation. To be precise, 61% of respondents to PwC’s Innovation Benchmark Report are embracing open innovation to generate new ideas.

Further research found that 84% of executives agree that innovation is vital to growth strategy, yet only 6% of all respondents are satisfied with innovation performance. But why?

It’s highly unlikely that almost every business is failing to come up with fruitful innovative ideas. A more likely explanation is that people don’t know what metrics to use to effectively prove the value of an innovation – therefore, 94% of executives discard its performance.

So, why is innovation so hard to measure?

Let’s take a step back to consider what it is about innovation that makes it so difficult to quantify.

Innovation can have different meanings depending on the organisation, the situation and the person managing it. It also touches many different parts of the business, making it hard to define and even harder to measure.

This inevitably leads to confusion around what the innovation team is for and what they should be focusing on.

Is innovation about coming up with new ideas and products to take to market? Is it about finding ways to be more productive, or refine existing processes? Is it about securing the long-term future for the business or delivering against short-term goals?

Having a clear definition of what innovation means for your business and a practical set of metrics to measure performance by is essential when proving its value.

What is the problem with current metrics?

Despite the sheer amount of data created today and the powerful tools we have on hand to analyse it, the majority of innovators are still using fairly traditional methods to measure their innovation value – such as sales, productivity and access to low-cost resources.

Yes, analysing the percentage of sales from products introduced in the past few years and the number of active projects over a certain period is useful for evaluating results and gaining investment. But it doesn’t give you a complete overview.

Measuring innovation within a company or a project is a lot more complex than that. For instance, how do you measure disruptive innovation? Especially when you create a new market altogether and there isn’t anyone else to compete against.

Another challenge of measuring innovation today is something called a “metrics overload”. Yes, metrics can be effective. However, if you have too many trying to measure every small criterion, you can easily miss the heart of the matter and struggle to feel satisfied with your approach to measuring innovation.

Having too many metrics can lead to an overactive emphasis on measuring, rather than creating.

How do you measure what matters?

Businesses can get stuck in measuring the wrong stuff. If you need new products or services to position yourself as a market leader, then you should measure progress towards achieving those things.

Your metrics should align with your strategy, not the other way around. Rob Sheffield, Director of Bluegreen Learning

The bottom line is, you can spend hours creating complex dashboards to try and justify the worth of innovation, but they must be clear, otherwise, they’re rendered worthless.

If a project takes years to realise a benefit, incremental value delivery could be one potential solution. Creating MVPs (minimum viable product) and launching, testing and measuring results will enable you to demonstrate value more frequently.

Another final thing to think about when measuring innovation is your customers. According to PwC’s 2017 Innovation Benchmark report, 54% of companies say having a customer engagement strategy helps define innovation from early creation and 35% of companies state customers as their most important innovation partners.

Running a soft launch and collating customer feedback off the back of can give you quantifiable results. You can use the information presented to improve ideas and ensure you’re heading in the right direction.

Do you have any examples?

We’ve spoken a lot about metrics without giving any precise examples. That’s because we believe there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach you can simply replicate.

The latest ISO for Innovation Management notes the importance of proper measurement of innovation:

The innovation performance of an organisation is dependent on processes that are operating towards a common purpose. Measuring the interaction between elements develops the understanding of their interrelation. Managing these elements as a system, improves organisational learning, effectiveness, and efficiency.

Our solution is to start a conversation about getting better at measuring innovation – bringing industry experts in to share their experience in the hopes you’ll find something of value to your business and add to your innovation strategy and practice.

Thank you for sharing!

Sharing the Wisdom – Motion Graphics

Next up as part of our “Sharing the Wisdom” series: Daniel Simmonds, Motion Graphic Designer and Video Editor at Proctor + Stevenson. We caught up to understand the wisdom he’s gathered during his career across various creative roles, leading him to where he is today.

Daniel:

I’ve got over 10 years’ experience in the creative industry, working in various agencies – starting out as a graphic designer and transitioning to motion graphics. I now work at Proctor & Stevenson as a Motion Designer & Video Editor.

I work alongside Creatives, Copywriters, Voiceover Artists and many more in conceptualising ideas and bringing them to life with dedication and hard work. Generating ideas, storyboarding, animating graphics, editing video and engineering audio all from concept through to delivery.

Now, in an attempt to capture some of the wisdom you’ve gained as a professional so far, what are the stand-out things you’ve learned while working within the creative industry and becoming a specialist within motion graphics specifically?

Focus on purpose. Always think about your client and their audience. Using the latest trends, plugins and styles might scratch your creative itch and make your work look swish, but I’ve found that ideas and visual communication work best when kept simple and purposeful.

Try not to overstretch yourself. I’ve learnt the hard way that making sure you actually take your lunch hour and you work the hours you’re supposed to work benefits you in the long term. It’s all too easy to take your day to day work home with you until the early hours, but most of the time it’s really not worth it (unless you’re truly enjoying it). It’s just as important to recharge, listen to some good music and take a break from the screen.

Don’t be afraid to take risks. Experiment with software or new creative paths. I had never considered animation as a career until having been thrown into the deep end about 10 years ago. After one large and scary project using After Effects, it unknowingly kickstarted my career as a Motion Designer. Been tweaking keyframes and staring at render progress bars ever since!

Keep a record. Whilst you’re working, make sure to keep a folder with your final pieces of work in. Whilst working in agencies or freelance, the rate at which work is completed can be rapid, so you quickly forget what you’ve achieved. Not only is it good to review how things are going, how much time is dedicated to types of work etc, but for your own portfolio.

Thanks so much for sharing!