A guest blog from Zoe Amar.
Lucy’s recent blog about the 7 myths of innovation has inspired me to challenge my preconceptions in this area. As Lucy says, innovation is not a lofty ideal. I think there are great examples of innovation all around us and I spotted one when out and about in St Albans, Hertfordshire recently.
Raindrops on Roses is a cute gift shop on the high street – with a difference. It sells attractive products created locally, with 100% of the profits going to charity. It’s run by a team of local volunteers and supported by a local market research company, with each of their staff giving 3-5 working days each year helping to run the store. I don’t know the agency or the store very well but it struck me as an excellent idea, one which offers some great lessons in innovation.
What other great examples of charity innovation have you noticed recently? And how have they made you think differently about innovation?
Zoe Amar is charity marketing and digital communications expert and freelance consultant with extensive experience in developing and delivering marketing, digital communications and social media strategies. You can follow her on Twitter @zoeamar or check our her website here.
Image from http://www.hertsagainstcancer.org/the-shop/
Innovation and failure are close friends. Put simply – you cannot do something new and ground-breaking and have a guarantee that it will work. How to be brave, try your new idea, minimise risk and learn from failure are important skills for a fundraising innovator.
We listened to four speakers proudly sharing their failures. A panel of experts including Dax Lovegrove, Head of Business and Industry, WWF, Charmaine Coutinho, Business Development Manager, Good Energy Group and Robert Phillips co-founder Jericho Chambers gave their comments and commendations in celebration of the most audacious failures.
Trewin Restorick CEO from Global Action Plan shared the story of Ergo – his failed publication. Launched in 2000 it was the UK’s first sustainability lifestyle magazine. It was described at the time as being terribly communicated, dull and worthy. Shops didn’t know where to stack it with the other magazines and often ended up in the gay porn section.
Sue Riddlestone Chief Executive and Founder of Bioregional shared how they failed to reach the 0% carbon energy targets for the 2012 Olympics. But their failure still resulted in the One Planet Centre in the Olympic Village showcasing how the site was built using sustainable techniques, and ultimately the greenest Olympic Games ever.
Richard Turner Chief Fundraiser at SolarAid explained that without their failures SolarAid would have struggled to have achieved success. He shared the disaster solar lamp that fitted inside a hurricane lamp (which to their customers was a symbol of poverty – they wanted a light bulb) and how failing to sell to schools gave them the idea to sell (successfully) to head teachers.
Matt Sexton Director of Corporate Responsibility at B&Q reminisced about the launch of B&Q wind turbines in 2006. They were neat because they fitted onto your house. The problem was that they didn’t produce enough power. The wind test reports from up a pole in Scotland were very different from urban rooftops where they were actually being used. They managed to sell about 1,000 before being withdrawn in 2009.
The reason for sharing failures is to share what we learnt. So what did I learn from these brave admissions of failure?
‘Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavour’
I’ll be writing more on failure next year. If you have any failures that you would like to share so others can learn then please send me an email.