What is the Biggest Booster of Innovation?

We asked the speakers at our upcoming Digiday Innovation Summit, May 15-17 in Las Vegas, what they think are the biggest boosters of innovation, what is holding companies back and which sector is ahead in the digital industry.

What is the biggest booster of innovation?

Young, scrappy minds that want to explore.—John Winsor, Chief Innovation Officer, Havas and founder, Victors and Spoils

The biggest booster of innovation is courage and imagination. Innovation stems from the ability to see what’s not there, what’s missing and what’s needed. The obsessive desire to see that need and fill the void, in a way that reframes the context, is the innovator’s best friend.—Matti Leshem, Chief Executive Officer and founder, Protagonist


Short cycle times and iterations. Innovation depends on listening and learning, and in the digital age, we have more tools to listen and learn than ever before.—Ray Velez, Chief Technology Officer, Razorfish

Having the right to fail.—Erich Marx, director of interactive and social media marketing, Nissan

Strong talent that can quickly collaborate and share information.—Phillip Wiser, Chief Technology Officer, Hearst

What is the biggest inhibitor of innovation?

Focusing on exploiting an opportunity too early. When I talk about “exploiting,” I mean, trying to focus on profitability too early. There’s definitely a continuum between focusing on growth and building the right structures or focusing on profitability too early. The problem for big companies is that they can find themselves focusing on the profitability of a current business, Kodak putting chemicals on plastic, and not giving the fuel to a business that can be the future, digital photography.—John Winsor, Chief Innovation Officer, Havas and founder, Victors and Spoils

Fear, status quo, lack of imagination, complacency, mediocrity, shallowness and laziness.—Matti Leshem, CEO and Founder, Protagonist

Long cycle times and “gold-plating” and the idea that the first release out will meet all needs of people. Traditional thinking believes the launch is the finish line when in today’s reality, it’s the starting point.—Ray Velez, Chief Technology Officer, Razorfish

Too much focus on short-term ROI. Innovation takes investment: investment in ideas, technology, platforms that are not yet mature. It takes time and patience.—Erich Marx, director of interactive and social media marketing, Nissan

Top-down management and silos.—Phillip Wiser, Chief Technology Officer, Hearst

What sector of the digital industry is the most innovative right now — agencies, brands, publishers or ad technology — and why?

Probably the most innovative sector is actually the work that’s being done on data and the ability to begin to truly customize ads that people want to see. I want to live in a world where every marketing touchpoint that is delivered to me feels customized and substantive to my life. Companies like Acxiom are forging into this world and working with advertisers and publishers to begin to deliver high-quality customized experiences. This is innovation!—Matti Leshem, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Protagonist

Ad tech is leading the way. They’re more agile.—John Winsor, Chief Innovation Officer, Havas and founder, Victors and Spoils

Technology, because they have the understanding that the most important priority is to put the customer at the center. Technology’s disruptive force is to provide people with choice and control.—Ray Velez, Chief Technology Officer, Razorfish

Ad technology. Seems every week there’s a new ad technology being touted by startups and even “old-timers” like Facebook and Twitter that change the game just a bit. The explosive growth of mobile and location-based advertising is changing the ad world in real time … right now.  It’s innovation at its purest.—Erich Marx, director of interactive and social media marketing, Nissan


Ad technology is moving the fastest, but the quality has not kept up with the quantity.—Phillip Wiser, Chief Technology Officer, Hearst

Want to hear more from our speakers on the most innovative aspects of our industry? Request your invitation to the Digiday Innovation Summit today.


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