Never be Stuck for the Next Big Idea



Jonathan Allen, social marketing superstar and President, Longneck & Thunderfoot, brought his passion to host a three-hour interactive workshop at the March Startup Socials event. Longneck & Thunderfoot is an agile content company based in the heart of Silicon Alley and is part of the Columbia Startup Lab.

In attendance to enjoy the unique proposition of knowledge, beer, pizza, and roundtables were sixty unique visitors and three presenters who provided pragmatic advice on initiating breakthroughs.

Bryan Mattimore, innovation expert and author of Idea Stormers and 21 Days to a Big Idea, provided an engaging keynote presentation highlighting that creative thinking can be learned. Bryan is the cofounder of The Growth Engine, an innovation agency. Over the past 25 years, Bryan has helped Fortune 500 companies create over $3 billion in new innovations using his unique creative thinking exercises.

Ideation is coming up with new ideas, and innovation is the process of bringing those new ideas to market.Success is optional. Ideation and innovation need to be practiced in parallel for a breakthrough to be realized.

Bryan offered guiding principles, big idea thinking strategies, and idea generation techniques to ensure a pipeline of ideas on an on-going basis.This learning can be used to solve personal as well as professional challenges.

Guiding Principles

  • Use diverse stimuli
  • Leverage passion
  • Quantity will lead to quality

Thinking Strategies

  • Solve a problem
  • Adapt a technology
  • Help people self-actualize
  • Save people money
  • Save people time

Idea Generation Techniques

  • Question assumptions
  • Directed wishing
  • Twenty questions
  • The “and” technique
  • Benefit word mashing
  • Idea hooks
  • Patent prompts
  • Trend bending
  • The worst idea

Don Valdez and Samantha Taube illustrated how these strategies and techniques can be used to initiate marketing breakthroughs.

In 5 years, 90% of digital media spend will be programmatic. Don Valdez, Associate Director, Accuen, provided a practical overview of the complex programmatic ecosystem. Accuen, a division of Omnicom Media Group, is the global leader in programmatic media buying. Accuen operates the industry’s first open and flexible programmatic media-buying platform for the world’s top marketeers and more than 200 specialists in over 60 countries.

Don applied key thinking strategies to insure a marketeer’s success in the programmatic world.

  1. Be adept at quickly leveraging tools to purchase media space to be able to deliver the right message, in the right format, to the right person, in the right place, at the right time.The basic tools in this arsenal are demand-side platform (DSP), supply-side platform (SSP), data-management platforms (DMP), and real-time bidding (RTB).
  2. Bring to bear a combination of diverse skillsets and thinking to design effective marketing campaigns;storytelling, networking, partnerships, and project management.

Samantha Taube, Acquisition Marketing Manager, CommonBond presented the results of applying idea generation techniques to connecting the online and offline marketing worlds. CommonBond is a technology-enabled lender helping to address the student debt crisis. They enable graduates to refinance their student loans and save an average of over $14,500.

The lengthy decision slice of the marketing funnel requires breakthrough thinking.Samantha shared tactics and impressive results from their experience.

  1. Direct mail allows them to be hyper-targeted and has resulted in a significant increase in approval rates. Treat the letter as the creative, and tailor the branding.
  2. Out of home channels can be leveraged to increase brand awareness.Their campaigns have resulted in a 45% increase in traffic and a 400% increase in applications. Strive to be different in this space, and consider demographics, dwell time, and impact.
  3. Social Super Bowl: While they did not run a Super Bowl ad, CommonBond leveraged branded paid search, Facebook, and Twitter during the Super Bowl to promote brand awareness and engagement.This approach resulted in an increase of over 1000 site visits vs. an average Sunday.

These practitioners demonstrate that a commitment to ideation and innovation is hard work which can be fun and rewarding. Barriers are often perceived. Entrepreneurs, individuals, and innovation teams can master techniques to never be at a loss for the next big idea.

About the author: Rohinee Mohindroo

Rohinee Mohindroo is a Transformational Technology Leader, helping organizations elevate customer and employee experiences by delivering scale, speed, and stability. Rohinee is available in a consultancy role to startups who are scaling up and to enterprises who are strategically focused on digital transformations.

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