Monday, October 13, 2003

(Untitled and unpublished article on innovation)

LEARNING & INN0VATI0N { October 13, 2003}
By Moje Ramos-Aquino

Innovation is not just a buzzword. Companies use and benefit from innovative ideas. Here in Santee Library in San Diego, I have the opportunity to read through three newspapers {The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Financial Times} and I notice that advertisements share one theme: innovation. The ad headlines and copy by themselves are very innovative.

Consider these advertising headlines:
- Singapore Airlines: Space bed. The biggest business class bed in the sky.
- British Airways: Rarely has sleeping on the job been so well rewarded.
- Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts: You don’t find peace of mind. You arrive at it.
- Volvo: 5-star luxury. 5-star safety.
- Societe Generale Group: Innovative banking creates value. Profit from it.
- Dassault Falcon: Celebrating 40 years of helping CE0s make their wisest decisions. Falcon isn’t a plane, it’s a decision.
- Radisson Edwardian Hotels: Free to be.
- HSBC: In Korea red is an unlucky color.
- American Century, investment managers: American Possibilities. You didn’t think we go there. Guess what? We do.
- Bear Stearns: Throw us your toughest curve. The harder they come, the farther we go. A great deal depends on working with the right people.
- Reuters: Rule #8—to find the right partner play the field.
- Microsoft Business Solutions: Questions are everywhere. Insight is not.
- Hudson Global Resources: Our resources. Your expertise. Where can we take you?
- Tiffany & Co.: For your children’s children.
- American Electric Power: Focus is the mark of an experienced performer.
- Solectron, an electronic manufacturing and supply-chain services company: You spoke, we listened.
- Smith Barney Citigroup: A job well done is a job that’s never really done.
- SAAB: Rain can’t hit what rain can’t catch.
- Mercedes-Benz: If only there were a passing lane for the passing lane. The C230 Sport Sedan with a supercharged kompressor engine.
- Starwood Preferred Guest: True redemption defined—No blackouts. No limits. No hassles.
- Bristol-Myers Squibb Company: The tour of Hope--the race never stops.
- Principal Financial Group: Why do we work?
- Northwest Airlines: You used to wait in line. Now you’re flying smart.

A recruitment ad by Common Fund, an endowment investment management firm, goes: Wanted Managing Director/Relationship Officer. Will have sales/service responsibilities for current relationships in the North/East region. Will have actively develop new business as well as interface effectively with institutional investors using consultative sales approaches. Ability to manage/contribute to the evolution of change in client service and sales essential. {Surely, this job profile would require not the usual job skills, but new competencies such as innovation, consultative and facilitative skills, and others.),

What they said and why Ahh-nold won as governor of California in their recent recall election:
- Arnold Schwarzenegger: It is a about the people vs the government—the people vs the politicians.
- Gray Davis: I’m optimistic that things will go well. I trust the voters. I believe in them. I know they’ll do the right thing.
- Cruz Bustamante: we’re hoping for a big turnout.
- Tm McClintock: I think we have the makings for an upset.

My biggest insights from these ads are:
- People’s {and clients’} needs have changed and are changing.
- Those who profess to serve these needs need to be innovative both with their products and the way they present these products to their customers.
- These needs are centered at the heart of the customers and the Fannie Mae ad said it best: You’re looking at the most powerful economic force in the country-- the American dream. Entrenched in the heart of every Filipino, wherever we are, is that Filipino dream: house of our own Di ba? In San Diego County, for example, Fil-Ams work two or three jobs to fulfill this dream. The success of every Filipino is based on the size and location of their house. San Diegan-Filipinos are very successful, indeed.

Conoco Phillips says it all: Elevate performance. “It can’t be done.” “You’re crazy.” “Never.” “No.” These are the words that come in the beginning. 0nly to be proven wrong in the end. We realize that impossibilities sometimes yield the best opportunities. So where the others see an obstacle, we see a chance to elevate.

It is now Autumn and the climate here in San Diego is wonderfully cool. I am blessed to have wonderful hosts: Ate Prima Ferrer-Aquino in Santee and Kuya Alex and Ate Lily Ferrer in San Diego. San Diego is a super vacation destination—vast, not thickly populated and well planned. There are many public libraries that offer free use of computers and the internet. There are successful Filipino entrepreneurs here.

{Moje Ramos-Aquino is president f Paradigms & Paradoxes Corp. She designs and facilitates innovation interventions for companies. Her email address is}

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