GeniusWorks is an innovative strategy accelerator, led by Peter Fisk, helping business leaders to develop better strategies, bolder brands, faster innovation and smarter marketing.
We help you make sense of change, to find the best opportunities, and to focus on making at impact fast. We help you to see things differently and think different things, by starting from the future then working back, from the outside then working in – and by combining smart analytics with creative thinking, big ideas with practical action
Our approach is fast, facilitated and focused to build momentum … creative, commercial and collaborative to engage decision makers and teams who will deliver the outcomes.
We harness the energy and expertise of your own people, adding new insights and disciplined process, to make sense of complexity, define the right question, rapidly develop a range of creative possibilities, then focus on evaluating then executing the right solution. This builds engagement, momentum, and delivers results.
Once focused on the right strategy, it then brings together customer insight and brand development, and flows through to value propositions and customer experiences.
This is all done in a way that combines “future back” thinking to ensure it moves towards the goal, and “outside in” inspired by customers. It can be done largely intuitively using insights and imagination, common sense and experience. Or it can driven by detailed analysis, from segment targeting to portfolio optimisation, to focus on the right value drivers, and optimise value creation.
Examples of recent clients:
Innolab … accelerating ideas into action
Innolab is a fast and focused process to accelerate your best ideas to market, working with your key people, stretching and shaping their thinking, and guiding them through the phases of insight and ideation, design and evaluation, strategy and implementation. The process is built around three key workshops, typically two-days each, with some work in between:
- Insight Lab – opening up through insight and ideation
- Design Lab – shaping and evaluating the best concepts
- Action Lab – agreeing a strategy and implementation plan
Innolab is a well structured, practical and proven process for taking your team rapidly through the phases of problem-solving and creative development. It can be used for any form of business or brand strategy development, innovation of new products, concepts and businesses.
Explore more about Innolab accelerated development
Example client project … Philosophy … from USA to South Korea
Philosophy is an inspiring cosmetics brand from Phoenix, Arizona, that has developed a cult following for its distinctive products such as “Hope in a Jar”. Recently acquired by Coty of France, the brand team wanted to rethink the brand for global growth. We developed a fast, high-energy series of workshops in New York brought the global team together to develop a new core proposition, growth platforms with focus on Asian markets. This included the development of a new brand strategy, core brand proposition, and how to combine the serious skincare products with fun bath range. It explored new opportunities such as how to leverage its deep community of users, for example through brand experiences and gifting, and prioritised horizons plan for extensions into new markets. It included a roll-out of new concept stores in Singapore and South Korea.
Example client project … Turkcell … phone shops to creative spaces
The mobile phone company has more retail locations across Turkey than any other brands, but found its location increasingly used for support activities. How could it do more with its stores, to build its brand, engage people more often and more deeply? Through a series of three two-day workshops, we facilitated the cross-functional project team explored insights and parellels to develop new concept stores ranging from business centers for entrepreneurs to gaming zones for youth. Other projects with Turkcell have included developing a SME growth strategy, built on a new segmentation model developing partnerships and propositions for different professions – from artisans to doctors.
Strategy and Growth
Finding and shaping your best opportunities for profitable growth
- Explore – making sense of change, and the possible futures
- Vision – defining the future on your terms, and how to create
- Strategy – developing a strategy that will deliver today and tomorrow
- Horizons – mapping out the practical phases in strategy delivery
- Impact – ensuring that strategy execution drives profitable growth
Example client project … Cinnamon Hotels … a new strategy for Asian growth
The hotel chain was relatively small, focusing on tropical in the Indian Ocean and safari locations in Sri Lanka. Initially the leadership team wanted to respond to the growing challenge of western entrants into local markets. However through rapid analysis of market growth opportunities, in a series of high energy workshops, recognised the much more significant growth of emerging markets like China and India, and their different aspirations for hotels. Through customer immersion and creative design, we developed a new strategy for growth which combined market selection, new brand and positioning, new customer experience concept, and franchise formats. This project was done in partnership with Brand Finance, experts in brand and business analytics.
Example client project … Pinar Foods … refocusing strategy and brand portfolio
Pinar is a leading food and drinks company, the largest diary in Turkey and with a diverse portfolio that reaches across Europe and the Middle East. The leadership team wanted a new strategy for the business and brand. Our approach combined deep analytics and creative development. It included detailed analysis of value-based financial drivers by market, category and product, both current and estimating future growth. This was brought together with market research, industry trends, and learning from related businesses and sectors across the world. The result was a new purpose and vision, new articulation of the brand, refocusing product portfolio eliminating some low-value and adding new areas, a simplified consumer-centric brand architecture, and an implementation plan for phased delivery and impact. This project was done in partnership with MCT, developing Turkish business leadership, and Brand Finance, experts in brand and business analytics.
Creativity and Innovation
Creating better ideas, to deliver innovative solutions, and more market impact.
- Ideation – creative development through insights and imagination
- Fusion – connecting the best ideas to solve the right challenge
- Concepts – shaping concepts that are inspiring, practical and commercial
- Evaluation – evaluating and turning the best few into rapid prototypes
- Delivery – maintaining creativity through delivery to innovate the market
Example client project … Pharma business … reinventing healthcare around patients and wellbeing.
One of the world’s largest pharma companies wanted to develop an innovation approach, in response to a rapidly changing healthcare marketplace. Initial weeks were spent on bringing together insights, trends and new ideas, whilst also seeking to define the key problems and opportunities more clearly. In particular it involved taking in the perspectives of multiple stakeholders – payers, physicians, pharmacists as well as patients – and balancing the need to conform with regulation, whilst also seeking to do new things. Over 6 months the team developed new approaches to each important therapeutic area, combining digital and physical channels, new services and partnerships. I have worked on a wide range of other projects with the same company, and other pharma businesses, over recent years, in both USA, Europe and emerging markets.
Example client project … Vitra Bathrooms … from product to experience innovation.
Vitra is part of the Eczacibasi group, and a leading designer and manufacturer of ceramic products. They wanted to develop a new innovation culture rapidly across their business, and to drive disruptive new concepts. We brought together all 150 brand, product, technical and sales managers into a high energy series of “big think” innolabs. This focuses on exploring the customer world, particularly in terms of spirit of bathrooms, and through deep dives and safaris, we developed a rich diversity of new ideas. Teams worked rapidly over 48 hour periods to define and prototype their emerging concepts – from fresh water baths, to shopping mall cubicles, disco-style showers, and harmony spas. Out of the evaluation and definition stage a small number of fully specified new concepts – bathroom experiences – which were tested and the best ones adopted.
Brands and Marketing
Attracting, serving and retaining your best customers, profitably.
- Customers – understanding the best existing and potential customers
- Brands – developing inspiring brands and their directional architecture
- Propositions – articulating focused and compelling propositions
- Solutions – developing the right products and services, price and channels
- Experiences – delivering the total customer experience, before and beyond
Example client project … Visa … sponsoring the London 2012 Olympics
Visa wanted to make more of its role as a global sponsor of the Olympic Games, to go beyond the conventional support of advertising and client hospitality. We explored the potential alignment with brand and business strategy, to understand how such a huge investment could be used more significantly. The team defined an ambition to make London 2012 the cashless games as a showcase of Visa’s new contactless and mobile payment technologies, bringing together its multiple new technologies to demonstrate how life really can flow faster, on and off the track.
Example client project … Tata Steel … from commodity to co-created solutions
Steel is a classic low-margin business, sold at the lowest price, in bars and sheets with little regard for its real application and value. Tata Steel, having recently acquired some of Europe’s leading steelmakers, and their high tech businesses, wanted to change that. We worked with them to develop a strategic plan that built a new brand and marketing concept around customers, and in particular how to co-create with customers, not the steel but the applications of the steel to the customers business. For example, helping automakers to develop more lightweight structures that reduce emissions and improve fuel efficiency. The organisation, brand and communication, product and processes aligned around this new approach, winning for customers and the business. This project was done in partnership with Brand Finance, experts in brand and business analytics.
What the video:
More about Innolab
InnoLab is an approach to accelerated innovation – bringing together insights and ideas, creativity and design, development and commercialisation.
The approach has three phases which bring together many established, and some new, processes and activities for accelerating your ideas into practical action. Much of it can be done in-house, bringing together the right teams and disciplines from across your business, but it works best with a little added structure, facilitation and stimulus.
The approach has been developed through 20 years of practical experience – managing and facilitating problem-solving and innovation – in every type of category, organisation and culture. The detail is described in my new book “Creative Genius: Innovation from the Future Back”. The process is customised to the particular challenge, but there are typically three phases
• The Ideas Factory : Customer insights, future possibilities, and creative ideas
• The Design Studio : Shaping and connecting ideas, hypothesise and concepts
• The Impact Zone : Evaluating, developing and commercialising the best ideas
A simple process, but with much underneath – taking ideas from the future back, as well as the inside out and outside in, using left- and right-brain approaches, creativity and innovation, in order to make the best ideas happen “now forward” and to deliver extraordinary results.
Phase 1: The Ideas Factory
This is about insights and ideas – from the future, in partnerships with customers and experts, and our own imagination – from which we develop understanding and inspiration, direction and hypothesises.
We explore the possibilities, based on future scenarios, customer immersion, parallel worlds, emerging trends and creative ideas. Insights emerge out of the collation of knowledge from different perspectives – “flashes of inspiration” or “penetrating discoveries” – which are then fused with creative thinking.
Insights are much more than information, and create new platforms from which to generate stronger ideas. Ideas are much more than actions, but concepts for making life better. By understanding the problem or opportunity better, we have more chance of creating successful solutions. By focusing on real insights, we develop better ideas that are distinctive and powerful.
Essential tools used in the Ideas Factory include
- Opportunity maps – where are the best market opportunities for profitable growth?
- Future radar – how will your world change over the next 1, 3 and 5 years?
- Customer immersion – what do people really want, and how can we make life better?
- Parallel worlds – who else has our challenges in other sectors and places?
- Advanced brainstorms – what are all the existing ideas in our business?
- Creative zoning – what are the possibilities using a wide range of creative techniques?
- Hypothesis generation – so what are the possibilities, if we leap to the answer?
Phase 2: The Design Studio
This is about creativity and design – shaping the best ideas into more concepts that are compelling, practical and profitable – articulating, testing and evaluating each of the best concepts.
We work at the best ideas and hypothesises – reframing the context in which they are positioned, fusing ideas together into richer molecular structures, considering the function and form of these bigger ideas, enhancing their practical usability and aesthetic appeal.
Concepts work beyond products and services – they emerge as propositions, solutions and experiences, perhaps requiring new business and market models. It is then about evaluating each of the best concepts for their value potential for customers and business, how they will make people’s lives better, and how we can make them happen distinctively and profitably.
Essential tools used in the Design Studio include
- Context Framing – redefining the frame of reference by seeing things differently
- Creative fusions – making unusual combinations, bringing ideas together
- Design Thinking – applying the principles of function and form to everything
- Concept designs – articulting bigger ideas in terms of audiences, benefits, difference
- Product specification – specifying the potential products and services to support them
- Fast prototyping – making concepts real through pictures, models and testing
- Evaluation Filters – rapid testing in terms of customers, costs and risks, and impact
Phase 3: The Impact Zone
This is about development and commercialisation – making the ideas happen, launching them into the right markets, making them contagious and sticky, and ensuring they deliver sustained results.
We creatively focus on the opportunities that will deliver the most return, the best markets, customers, and solutions. Don’t try to do everything for everyone, do things which are significantly different and better. And we don’t stop at market entry – that is the starting point for bringing ideas to life, changing people’s attitudes, encouraging new behaviours.
Delivering sustained results is about finding space in the market that you can mke your own, defend and grow. That is achieved by telling your story, in ways that are compelling and contagious, and shaping markets in your own mind rather than being a slave to somebody else’s vision, stretching and evolving ideas so that can have even more impact, and stay a step or two ahead.
Essential tools used in the Impact Zone include
- Horizon planning – mapping out the implementation phased over future horizons
- Value propositions – turning the best concepts into compelling offers to customers
- Market entry strategy – preparing to enter the market in the most effective way
- Business modelling – designing the right financial model to make it profitable
- Licensing and franchising – making the most of existing brands, patents and IP
- Community building – engaging potential audiences in your ideas and applications
- Market vortexing – creating, shaping and growing the market in your vision
We apply the general approach to InnoLab in a customised way to address innovative challenges in your business. The first step is to work with you to understand the real issues and opportunities – innovation is often as much about finding the right question as answer. The issue might be internal or external – product development, market entry, customer satisfaction, new technologies, processes and channels, new brands or services, business models or culture change, mergers and acquisitions … or simply, profitable growth.
We then work with you to develop the right “accelerated innovation” approach for you, typically involving some form of InnoLabs – a series of fast and interactive, challenging and energising, facilitated workshops with your people. In the most simplest form it might be 12 days of support over 6 weeks, involving three 2-day workshops with a chosen cross-functional project team. This is all about maximising the use of existing knowledge, stimulating and structuring your creativity, focusing and accelerating your best ideas to market.
If you have a more complex challenge – such as building innovation capability across the business, connecting the best ideas across businesses, moving from incremental to breakthrough growth, and embedding this as a ongoing process – then we use a process called Inno:Labs.
- Inno:Labs for Exec Teams : specific focus on strategy, portfolio and breakthroughs
- Inno:Labs for Project Teams : practical innovation for markets, customers and products
- Inno:Labs for Big Teams : energising people though customers, creativity, collaboration
All projects are supported by a team of expert consultants, innovators and facilitators, who are brought together from different places – senior, specialist people who write books, work independently, have their own small teams, or have a specialism in a larger business. We can also support the existing agencies and client teams.
We work across sectors and geographies – the more eclectic the experiences, the more interesting ideas and insights we can share with you and future clients. Recent clients include DSM, Fosters Group, Marks & Spencer, Philips, Vodafone and many others.
To discuss how your business can apply the concept of accelerated innovation in these different ways, contact me at email@example.com
- Aeroflot: new brand strategy for the Russian airline
- Banyan Tree: exploring brand innovation and growth options as part of IPO
- Club Med: designing a better brand and customer experience
- Cinnamon Hotels: develop new business and brand strategy for growth
- Courvoisier: addressing declining share to find new markets and positionings
- Co-operative Bank: financial services innovation and value propositions
- Davidoff: New brand strategy and portfolio innovation for classic fragrance
- DSM: brand portfolio analysis and strategy development
- Eczacibasi: accelerated innovation, brands and marketing strategy
- Fat Face – growth strategy for niche clothing retailer into international markets
- Fosters: launch of new brands into the European market
- GSK: patient-centric, customer-centric healthcare innovation
- Hersheys: supporting launch into Africa and Middle East
- Oriflame: new value propositions for Central/Eastern Europe
- Philosophy: new global brand strategy for innovative brand
- Pinar: brand strategy, architecture and portfolio optimization
- Shell – strategy for repositioning the LPG business and channels to market
- Tata – rebranding acquired businesses from strategy to communication
- Telia Sonera: customer insight, propositions and strategy
- Turkcell: retail experience design and business propositions
- Unilever: sustainable brand imprinting and communication
- VB Beer – accelerating entry of Australia’s number one beer into new markets
- Visa: London 2012 Olympics sponsorship strategy
- Vodafone: global sustainability co-creation and strategy
- Vodafone – evaluating best brand models for partnerships and acquisitions worldwide