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business data e-commerce mobile product Retail social media sustainability technology Uncategorized

The cost of free returns, manufacturing post-Brexit, the resale revolution

A round-up of everything you might have missed in relevant fashion, retail and tech industry news over the past week.

TOP STORIES
  • The unsustainable cost of free returns (Vogue Business)
  • The brave new post-Brexit world of UK manufacturing (Drapers)
  • Retail at risk: analyst cite resale revolution (WWD)
TECHNOLOGY
  • A guide to virtual beings and how they impact our world (Tech Crunch)
  • Facebook’s vision of glasses that read your thoughts isn’t just a dream (Fast Company)
  • StockX was hacked, exposing millions of user records (Tech Crunch)
  • UK financial watchdog finally decides which cryptocurrencies to regulate (The Next Web)
  • John Lewis partners with UK robotics companies to create blueprint for robot-human interaction (Charged Retail)
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • True sustainability not achievable until 2021 (Drapers)
  • Textile waste has increased 811% since 1960 (Supply Chain Dive)
  • Inside Nuuly, Urban Outfitter’s attempt to take on the rental clothing market (Modern Retail)
  • Waitrose to expand sustainable unpacked trial (Retail Gazette)
  • Beauty’s giant glitter problem (BoF)
  • Carrier bag sale in supermarkets drop 93% (Retail Gazette)
  • Why are fashion supply chains so wasteful? (Retail Dive)
  • H&M called out for ‘greenwashing’ in its conscious fashion collection (DeZeen)
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Retailers to scale back ‘kiss of death’ Black Friday (Drapers)
  • How Zappos used AI to rebuild its search engine (Modern Retail)
  • Amazon adds styling service to Prime Wardrobe (Retail Dive)
  • Why this Japanese e-commerce giant is doubling down on fashion (BoF)
  • Can retailers break up with the mall? (Retail Dive)
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • The golden age of Instagram marketing is over (BoF)
  • Inside Westfield’s VR jungle adventure (Retail Gazette)
  • MCM immersive pop-up playground lands in Shanghai (Jing Daily)
PRODUCT
  • Rag&Bone puts the focus on fit in fall initiatives (WWD)
  • Should brands charge more for larger sizes? (Vogue Business)
  • Duchess of Sussex to launch clothing collection (Drapers)
BUSINESS
  • Risk of global recession threatens luxury party (BoF)
  • China’s tech startups flourish in talent-rich second-tier cities (Asian Review)
  • Gucci fears spark Kering sell off (Bloomberg)
  • The Future of Maison Margiela (BoF)
CULTURE
  • Beauty is designing packaging for the visually impaired (Vogue Business)
  • Pantene breaks beauty advertising norms by celebrating grey hair (Campaign)
  • The Hong Kong protests: what brands need to know (BoF)
  • Meet the designer behind a new line of functional and fashionable accessories for wheelchair users (Teen Vogue)

How are you thinking about innovation? The Current Global is a transformation consultancy driving growth within fashion, luxury and retail. Our mission is to solve challenges and facilitate change. We are thinkers and builders delivering innovative solutions and experiences. Get in touch to learn more.

Categories
business Editor's pick

Man Repeller trolled Zappos’ customer service team, and it’s hilarious

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If this isn’t the best ad for the customer service reps at online shoe retailer Zappos, then we don’t know what is.

Haley Nahman, a writer for fashion blog Man Repeller, decided to test out the company’s mandate that essentially says its team will answer any question you throw at them. And she did so in the most entertaining way possible.

First she started by asking questions related to fashion and which shoes she should wear. Straight-forward. Next, she adds in that she can’t quite find what she wants on Zappos and do they have any other suggestions – she kindly gets some Amazon links back (Zappos’ parent company), as well as some amusing details on the customer service reps name and fashion perspective.

From here on out, things start heading a little left field… from opinions on manicures, to a back-and-forth about cats vs dogs, and suggestions for artichoke dip recipes. “OMG. THIS TEAM WILL DO ANYTHING,” Nahman exclaims as she walks away with a delicious dish to try, noting simultaneously how her karma levels are slowly falling wayward.

Man Repeller writer Haley Nahman and her cat, Bug - as referenced in the Zappos customer service conversations
Man Repeller writer Haley Nahman and her cat, Bug – as referenced in the Zappos customer service conversations

On a scale of tasks related to being a Zappos rep, things only get wilder from there: Nahman heads into neediness territory, gets some killer Harry Potter quotes back (seriously), and brings in some heavy personal family matters that still manage to get the most considered of responses.

“Did I mention she thanked me for taking time out of my busy day to get in touch? I am a horrible person who doesn’t deserve nice things,” Nahman writes. “Zappos will indeed answer any question thrown at them, I no longer deserve my membership in the Former Customer Service Worker Club and I am spending my discretionary income at Zappos for the next ten years in a meager attempt at restitution for my wrongdoings.”

What a win for Zappos, who has of course based its entire business on the quality of its customer service team. “Seriously, the goodness of these people nearly drove me to poetry,” Nahman adds. Now there’s a testimony.

Categories
Comment data digital snippets e-commerce Editor's pick film social media technology

2014: A designer meets digital year in review

Burberry_burberry_hr

What a year it has been for fashion and technology…

From wearables taking off with varying designer brands during fashion week, to the launch of new services like Apple Pay, the success of Alibaba’s IPO, discussion around visual search, the ongoing use of selfie campaigns and more, one thing after another has once again been making an impact in this space.

Below then, are 10 of the posts you loved the most on the relaunched F&M site this year. It’s an interesting exploration of subjects as varied as big data and viral videos, as well as the more gimmicky, yet PR-worthy role technology can often play. Think drones, Oculus Rift, the ALS #icebucketchallenge, and yet more on wearable tech.

Thank you for reading and see you in 2015!

Categories
digital snippets e-commerce film mobile social media technology

Digital snippets: Black Friday, high tech holiday, Michael Kors, Burberry, Gap, Chanel, Asos

A round-up of the latest stories to know about surrounding all things fashion and tech…

MICHAELKORS_fashion-model-on-iphone

  • Fewer shoppers hit the stores on Black Friday, but retailers engaged for a marathon rather than a sprint [CNN Money]
  • Black Friday embrace by British retailers brings discounts and disorder [NY Times]
  • This holiday season, high-end retailers go high-tech [The Washington Post]
  • The biggest names in fashion are trying to make Instagram a shopping app, Michael Kors is the latest (as pictured) [Quartz]
  • Christopher Bailey’s Burberry vision: tech-driven yet personal [WWD]
  • Gap introduces an augmented reality experience called Play Your Stripes for holiday [DigitalBuzzBlog]
  • Chanel is pairing Pharrell Williams and Cara Delevingne in a romantic fantasy [Creativity Online]
  • Small wins: Asos’s data-driven male models [WGSN/blogs]
  • Why fashion marketers should be paying attention to Ello [Fashionista]
  • Intel, Opening Ceremony and CFDA unveil MICA wearable for market [BrandChannel]
  • A Zappos pop-up shop becomes a test to change the nature of mom-and-pop retail [VentureBeat]
  • New York subway riders can now shop on Amazon while underground, with digital pop-up stores [AdWeek]
  • Snapchat launches Snapcash payment feature with Square [BBC]
Categories
digital snippets e-commerce mobile social media Startups technology

Digital snippets: Amazon 3D printing, Zappos digital assistant, Target In a Snap app, and more

A round-up of the latest stories to know about surrounding all things fashion and tech…

Jeff Bezos, Amazon 2012

  • What Amazon’s foray into 3D printing means for the industry [Fortune]
  • Zappos tests digital assistant that helps you track down any fashion item [CNET]
  • Target snaps up mobile shopping innovation with image recognition app [BrandChannel]
  • L’Oréal make-up goes virtual for selfie age [FT]
  • Yoox Group teams with messaging service WeChat [WWD]
  • Marie Claire’s innovative interactive magazine covers are breaking new ground in advertising real estate [BoF]
  • This Nike vending machine accepts only FuelBand points [Creativity]
  • Virtual reality: advertising’s next big thing? [AdAge]
  • Forever 21, Urban Outfitters among most popular retailers on Pinterest, relative newbie, Modcloth, tops list [Forbes]
  • 8 start-ups trying to help you find clothing that fits [Fashionista]
  • The new bazaar: in India, online stores catch on with buyers [NY Times]
  • New York Fashion Tech Lab program debuts at Hearst Tower [PSFK]
Categories
business Comment Editor's pick fashmash

Fashion takeaways from Ben Horowitz book, The Hard Thing About Hard Things

fashmashbookclub_hardthings

The inaugural #fashmash book club was held in London earlier this month, with a group of digital individuals from the fashion industry meeting at the all-new Library private members club in London.

The book in question for this first get-together was leading venture capitalist Ben Horowitz‘s The Hard Thing About Hard Things. The aim wasn’t just to dissect the chapters and share our impressions on each of them, but apply them (and their learnings intended for the world of tech start-ups) directly to what they mean for the fashion industry, enabling a broader discussion on business strategy as a result.

What ended up was quite a critical look at what needs to shift in our industry. Here then are some of the takeaways – a series of considerations designed to be thought-starters rather than fully formed arguments.

“Dogs at work and yoga aren’t culture”

Culture doesn’t make a company, but once you’ve nailed the product, it’s an essential part of building and maintaining it, Horowitz suggests. This isn’t about team drinks or gym classes as the easy option, but an ethos that determines who you are both internally and externally. In fashion, an obvious example is Zappos. As a brand that stands for customer service, it inducts all its employees no matter what level they’re starting at into that way of thinking with a mandatory four weeks training in the call centre.

Much of the industry comes with a significant heritage in tow, however – 150 years for a department store here, 168 for a designer brand there – which make cultural shifts, if necessary, all that much harder to achieve. In the most traditional of senses, the biggest barrier is still that feeling of fashion living in an ivory tower.

Despite a move at large to new ways of thinking thanks to digital, there remains very much a culture industry-wide of there only being one voice, a focus on the idea of that being ‘the way things have always been done’, and significant barriers to internal innovation as a result. Even some of today’s youngest and most successful online companies are beginning to battle with this as their teams grow and become increasingly siloed seemingly overnight. Tweets and Facebook posts planned three months in advance aren’t uncommon, especially in certain European cities, neither are rigorous sign-off processes that make simple tasks significantly more laborious than they need be.

“Create a culture that rewards, not punishes people for getting problems into the open where they can be solved,” writes Horowitz. For culture to evolve in fashion, the starting point is still internal communication, development of trust and a willingness to become more open, our members suggested.

“Technological advances have dramatically lowered the financial bar for starting a new company, but the courage bar for building a great company remains as high as it has ever been”

Courage, as with risk or failing fast, is a common concept for those in Silicon Valley. For fashion however, as with many other industries similarly based on cumbersome legacy systems, it remains somewhat foreign, despite words like “disruption” regularly being banded about off the back of association with new business models, like that of Warby Parker. For a young designer entering the market otherwise, there is little choice but to follow the established distribution model or not be in with the chance of getting picked up from a buying perspective.

The closest the industry at large comes to consistently courageous activity is instead with a constant obsession with the shiny and the new. But is this to our detriment?

Take seasonal collections. The fashion cycle is becoming increasingly transseasonal; fast fashion ever the norm, even at designer level where there can be anywhere in the region of 12 collections per year nowadays. The sustainability of that is another discussion, what’s interesting here rather is what’s happening to seasonal campaigns alongside. From the highest fashion house to the most basic high street brand, we are still obsessed with twice yearly print ads (with the addition of the odd film alongside) that focus on the newness of the product. What’s lacking then is a reflection on the continuity of the brand.

Fashion is so obsessed with its visual representation, it forgets to portray bigger ideas that help maintain and entice a customer base. Sir John Hegarty of BBH gave a great example of the value of this at Cannes Lions this year by comparing Nike and Reebok. The former launched its strapline “Just Do It” in 1988 – a brand identity in three words that it has kept ever since. Reebok in the meantime, has changed its message near on every year, which is perhaps why so few of us can remember any of them. It’s hard to believe the two had equal market share at that point in time in the 80s.

Shiny and new is also seen with our focus on introducing buzzy technology concepts. Are the high profile, often gimmicky (though duly press-worthy) initiatives seen around fashion weeks worthwhile? As Horowitz writes: “It’s quite possible for an executive to hit her goal by ignoring the future.” In other words, it’s all very well pushing a piece of innovation tied to a specific initiative at a point in time, but is it something that fundamentally fits authentically with the business so it impacts down the road efficiently. True courage lies in building blocks that shape the future.

“When you are a start-up executive, nothing happens unless you make it happen”

There is of course an enormous place for innovation in the fashion industry when done right. It’s important to note the difference between innovation and technology here – in fact some of the most successful examples in our industry are those businesses innovating in areas that aren’t hugely press-worthy. Those figuring out how to decrease e-commerce return rates, or strategising on updating those aforementioned legacy systems to an all-new omnichannel approach. Behind-the-scenes work initially, but innovation that absolutely impacts the future.

This fits with the fact an increasing number of new job roles are being created with retailers in so-called innovation labs. What we’re accordingly starting to see is a big focus on how to actually make things happen.

In the recent WGSN Google Hangout on this very subject, John Vary, innovation manager at John Lewis, and Will Young, director of Zappos Labs, highlighted the necessity of the role of ideas managers in their organisations. Having an innovation team is all very well, but someone needs to execute on those ideas for them to be at all worthwhile. Importantly, these tend to be very different skill sets.

As Horowitz outlines in a chapter about leadership, there’s a big difference between knowing what to do, and doing what you know. Some people lean more heavily towards setting the direction, while for others enjoyment comes from making the company perform. All businesses, fashion included, do of course need both.

“You should strive to hire people with the right kind of ambition”

It mightn’t come as a surprise the #fashmash book club, though spinning off from a network that’s more evenly split, was entirely comprised of women on this first occasion. It’s also not surprising then that everyone in the room picked up on the fact Horowitz consistently referred to the CEO and executive subjects in his book as ‘she’ and ‘her’ throughout. It’s interesting in itself that that stands out as being so different when you read it. For a fashion crowd, however, it also sparked yet another conversation.

Despite the female association, this is an industry still dominated at the top level almost entirely by men. When Angela Ahrendts was the CEO of Burberry, she was one of only three females on the FTSE 100, a loss the UK mourned on her move over to Apple. But one the fashion industry did too. Technology as an industry is battling a lack of women at exec level, but has the fact so few have studied computer science or engineering, frequently to blame. That’s certainly not an issue in our world.

More disappointingly however, this is an industry that still operates under a very stereotyped “mean girls” sensibility, especially in increasingly competitive organisations where egos play a significant part.

With Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In as the go-to reference, not to mention this Pantene ad from the Philippines that went viral worldwide after Sandberg herself shared it, women already have to deal with being perceived as ‘bossy’ or ‘selfish’ compared to men being seen as ‘powerful’ or ‘dedicated’. Bitch is another frequent term referred to. So why aren’t we supporting each other more?

Horowitz defines ambition as a particularly interesting game. “When hiring a management team, most start-ups focus almost exclusively on IQ, but a bunch of high-IQ people with the wrong kind of ambition won’t work,” he writes. He emphasises the importance of distinguishing whether candidates see the world through the “me” prism (their own personal success) or the “team” prism (how the company will win). “Nothing motivates a great employee more than a mission that’s so important that it supersedes everyone’s personal ambition,” he adds.

In closing…

Safe to say, and no doubt this isn’t new to hear for most readers (nor is it unique to this industry), fashion needs a bit of a wake-up call. We’re very good at resting on old laurels, tired ways and the way things have always been done. But increasingly these traditional means don’t match a modern world or a modern consumer. This book is a great example of what the industry should know, what they should look at, and where they should learn from. In general for those managing, hiring, training or firing, there’s also some very practical insights to glean as well.

Do check out Horowitz’s book on Amazon here. And keep up with the #fashmash hashtag on Twitter too to see what titles we’re looking to dive into next.

fashmash_librarylondon

Categories
Blocks business e-commerce technology

Accelerating change at retail – a chat on innovation with WGSN, John Lewis and Zappos Labs

By day, I’m a global senior editor at WGSN, where we’ve been running an ongoing series of Google+ Hangouts (#wgsnhangout), chatting to experts from across the industry each month on subjects as varied as wearable technologycatwalk trends to know aboutthe future of fashion and more.

This month, the subject was retail innovation. I interviewed Will Young, director of Zappos Labs; John Vary, innovation manager at John Lewis; and Lorna Hall, WGSN’s head of market intelligence. Check out the video above for more on what’s currently shifting the landscape through the eyes of a heritage retail brand and a large US e-commerce player.

We chat about improving the consumer experience, introducing new technologies, partnering with start-ups, gaining internal buy-in, the ever-important role of omnichannel and more. There’s also a quick-fire round flagging up how soon (18 months, three-five years, or not at all) retailers need to care about innovations such as beacons, 3D printing, wearable tech, drones and virtual reality.

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Blocks Startups

Recommended listening: Refashion podcast

refashion

A new fashion and tech podcast has launched that’s worth checking out. Refashion kickstarted in April 2014 and has already featured interviews with the likes of Will Young, director of Zappos Labs; Melissa Coker of womenswear brand Wren; and Daniela Cecilia, founder of visual search app ASAP54.

Created for fashion entrepreneurs and business owners, the podcast aims to “highlight the hottest fashion tech startups and seek business advice from founders and fashion executives”, says its own founder Cristina Quitania.

Part of her mission, she says, is to help tighten the learning curve. “By bringing together the most influential players from each community each week, the Refashion Podcast has one goal in mind: to support innovation, creativity and growth – growth that both propels the fashion industry and ourselves. I stand for collaboration and a continuous curiosity to learn, and believe that these two things will build a transformed fashion community.”

Young talks about customer service for instance, while Coker focuses on how the brand achieved such viral video success with its recent First Kiss campaign.

A recent episode sees Andy Goodman, managing director at service design agency Fjord, discussing smart materials, nano technology and synthetic biology. From wearables to embeddables, this is a fantastic exploration of where science is leading us in the future, and what really we can expect to see.

There are also sessions with companies including Lookbook.nu, Everpurse, Mallzee and more. And I’m on there in my role as senior editor at WGSN, talking about what’s happening in social media trends for the fashion world, as well as how brands are balancing the role of technology from a gimmick versus truly ROI perspective.

Check it out via iTunesStitcher Radio and Refashion.co.

Categories
e-commerce social media

Zappos piloting personal shopping service on Instagram with #nextootd

Most of you will have already heard of the hashtag #ootd. For those who haven’t, this is the epitome of the #selfie phenomenon. “Outfit of the day” as it stands for, has over 23 million posts attached to it on Instagram.

That’s 23 million images associated with what people are wearing, said Will Young, director of Zappos Labs – the San Francisco-based experimentation and innovation arm of e-commerce site Zappos – during SXSW last week. “We looked at [those figures] and asked as a retailer how do we be a part of that?”

The answer? His team recently launched a pilot project on the platform called Next OOTD. Very simply, followers are invited to post a selfie along with the hashtag #nextootd. Those who do will receive a personalised shopping recommendation based on their Instagram from Zappos in return.

Zappos is of course a company that prides itself, and has become known, for customer service (its longest ever phone call was nine and a half hours – and celebrated for that fact, Young revealed). He said they are constantly trying to think of lots of different ways to take that service to the next level.

At the moment this project is entirely manual – there’s one person doing it who doesn’t even work weekends – so the potential to scale isn’t really there, he admitted, but that’s not to say it won’t be down the line.

“Personal shopping via Instagram… that could be the future of our business,” he argued – and perhaps rightly so given the buzz around social shopping once again at present. “It could have a 50 person team manning it and making personalised shopping recommendations.”

To his own strategy, he added: “I heard Sarah Friar, CFO of Square speak recently, and she said: ‘Think big but start small.’ That’s kind of how we approach things at Zappos Labs.”

Categories
data technology

Looking back at SXSW: wearables, privacy and avoiding bandwagons

This article first appeared on The Business of Fashion 

Rachel Arthur recaps the highlights of this year’s SXSW Interactive conference and identifies key takeaways for the fashion industry.

Valencia_ONeal_IMAGETHINK_SXSWi14-656x371

AUSTIN, United States — The marketing and tech crowd hit Austin, Texas, once again this week for the annual SXSW Interactive conference, bringing with them more members of the fashion industry than ever before. There were representatives from long-time attendees like Burberry and Bergdorf Goodman, alongside a flurry of first timers from Parisian fashion houses and UK department stores alike, a sure sign of technology’s increasingly pervasive impact on fashion retail.Thought of as an incubator for tech-enabled creativity which aims to provide a “view on the future,” the annual event is overloaded with keynotes, panel discussions and pop-up events, not to mention a trade show floor. But, as usual, much of the action also happened off-piste, in spontaneous conversations at hundreds of events and parties.

Here, we’ve compiled some key takeaways, on themes ranging from wearable technology to consumer privacy.

The State of Wearables

It was clear wearables — an emerging category of personal accessories with embedded sensors, displays and other digital technology (such as Nike’s FuelBand, Google Glass and Apple’s rumoured iWatch) — were going to be a key topic even before SXSW began. They’d dominated the scene at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) held in Las Vegas each January and over 60 sessions addressed the topic, up from a mere handful last year.

Speakers unanimously agreed that the category is advancing rapidly. American basketball star Shaquille O’Neal even made an appearance to discuss his new interest in wearable technology with Rick Valencia of Qualcomm. Yet despite predictions that the market for wearables could reach $30-$50 billion over the next 3 to 5 years, the growing consensus was that mass adoption was still a ways off. On Google Glass, Robert Scoble (author and startup liason officer of Rackspace) said: “This is one of those products you know is the future, but it’s so unfinished at this point that it’s frustrating. It’s three to five years away before it’s really useful.”

And indeed, it was the word ‘useful,’ more than design or aesthetics — which the current crop of wearables are widely thought to lack — that came up the most. Jennifer Darmour, user experience design director at Artefact, said she has a drawer full of wearables that she had worn for just a week or two each before abandoning them. There was too much focus on novelty, she said, rather than on creating real functional value. “We’ve been taking a technology and trying to find a problem for that technology, instead of the other way round,” she added. “We need a more human-centric approach.”

Q Manning, chief executive of app design company Rocksauce Studios, agreed: “We need to solve problems. Just because we can build it, doesn’t mean we should. We need to pinpoint will this actually be useful? Is it beneficial? Will it help me live my life better?”

Jay Morgan, digital creative director of Havas Worldwide, added: “When wearable tech becomes [part of our] normal clothes and we don’t have to [actively] interact with it, it’s not then going to be about whether people care about it, it’s just going to be a part of your life. That’s what brands need to think about it now.”

Managing Privacy

Privacy was another key topic at SXSW this year, perhaps unsurprisingly as whistleblower Edward Snowden gave one of the headline talks. Appearing via Google Hangout from an undisclosed location in Russia, Snowden called on the technology community to help protect privacy rights by building them into technical standards. “There is a policy response that needs to occur, but there is also a technical response that needs to occur,” he said. “It is the development community that can really craft the solutions and make sure we are safe.”

Christopher Soghoian, principle technologist at the American Civil Liberties Union, added: “I really think that consumers need to rethink their relationship with many of the companies to whom they entrust their private data. I really think what this comes down to is if you are getting the service for free, the company isn’t going to be optimising your experience with your best interests in mind.”

While Soghoian was referring to Internet services like Facebook, the issue of consumer privacy should be of concern to retailers as well, as they increasingly collect and leverage personal data.

“The bottom line is data should not be collected without people’s knowledge and consent,” said Snowden. “If data is being clandestinely acquired and the public doesn’t have any way to review it and it is not legislatively authorised, it is not reviewed by courts, it is not consonant with our constitution — that is a problem.”

For others, the issue of privacy and personal data was seen in the context of a value exchange, with consumers increasingly willing to reveal information in return for benefit. “The more utility you get, the more you’re going to have to give away your privacy,” said Scoble, adding he’d happily do so himself in return for more useful and personalised experiences. Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, agreed: “I’m excited about data being about me. The marketer gets a certain amount of value in the stats on my demographic, but the real value is for me.”

Daniela Rus, director of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab at MIT, said the way forward was giving consumers control of their data. “We are now developing technologies to give people control over who manages their data and how. We are ensuring privacy, so it will be very easy and very comfortable for them to give their data over and get something out of it.”

Avoiding Bandwagons

Elsewhere at SXSW, conversation swirled around everything from “embeddables” (technology emebedded in the world around us, such that “virtually any human activity we can think of is going to be modified and amplified with an invisible mesh of data and processing that we will drift through obliviously,” according to one panel) to bioengineering. But ultimately, “good technology is no excuse for a bad idea,” said Paul Kemp-Robertson, co-founder and editorial director of marketing consultancy and magazine, Contagious. “It’s easy to jump onto bandwagons just because a new technology looks cool. Everyone enjoys feeling like that little kid chasing after the bright, shiny tool in the distance. But in this age of service design and living data, if a marketing idea is not useful, relevant or entertaining, then really there’s very little point in letting it loose on the world.”

Kristina Simmons, a partner at leading Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, agreed. Wearable technology, for example, should not be a priority just because everyone is talking about it. “It needs to be something that makes sense for your business. It’s about thinking about your top five priorities, versus saying I want to do something with wearables.”

“Innovation isn’t just giant leaps and bounds and the sexy stuff — it’s also about the basics and thinking about how we do things better. Incremental changes can make a big difference too,” said Will Young, director of Zappos Labs.

“Being first has always been a big thing,” said Ben Malbon, Google’s head of creative partnerships. “But the future is here already. We should use the existing tools we have on the table. Innovation doesn’t need invention.”