Diageo: Responsibility, relationships and overcoming risk key to innovation

The Annual: Marketers need to overcome the fear of taking risks to drive product innovation and growth for their companies, according to Diageo’s global innovation head.

Speaking at Marketing Week’s The Annual conference on smart thinking, working and engagement, Syl Saller, global innovation director at the Guinness and Smirnoff maker, says that marketers should not be scared of trying new things.

“You need to separate the risks in your head from the actual risk of failure”.

Syl Saller

She adds that marketers need to drive innovation by looking beyond complications and objections often expressed in other parts of the organisation that can lead to ideas “being watered down”.

“Great work requires determination, “she adds.

In addition to overcoming their own and others perceived risks, marketers also need to develop real relationships with senior executives, Saller adds.

“Real relationships equals real growth”, she says, adding that by developing a framework that encourages support and empathy among colleagues, marketers can feel confident that innovation will be backed by those they answer to.

The third and third driver for innovation and growth, Saller says, is responsibility.

“Take responsibility for change that you want to see”.


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