Samuel Tait sat down with Arno Lenior after his departure from the role as Samsung CMO to get his viewpoints and advice on innovation.
Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.marketingmag.com.au
Arno Lenior is one of Australia’s leading marketers having most recently overseen unprecedented growth for Samsung as CMO until May this year. Having worked for two of the world’s most innovative companies (Apple and Samsung) and leading group innovation at Lion Nathan his experience and insights into innovation are unique. Samuel Tait sat down with him after his departure at Samsung to get his viewpoints and advice on innovation.
At Apple, innovation clearly is part of the company’s DNA. It approaches products and markets very differently. I was there when Steve Jobs was steering the company into a fresh new direction with the launch of the iPod. This was really interesting because their view of innovation is looking at categories or creating new categories as a source of new value. The iPod was a really good example where they saw a way to re-imagine how people would consume media, and ultimately create value. For Apple that was the start, obviously, of very many new products and markets. They didn’t necessarily invent the MP3 player, but I think they perfected it with the iPod. They simplified things for people. Innovation internally was more than a buzzword. ‘Innovation’ was a part of everyone’s KPIs. Interestingly enough, the definition was left very open in terms of what the interpretation of innovation actually was. It was an individual thing, and also a mindset. It was therefore up to you to define what innovation actually is to you and how it applies to what you do everyday.
At Samsung as the chief marketing officer was really to externalise locally a lot of the output of innovation as opposed to coming up new innovative products. The Samsung organisation is structured in such a way that it is massively focused on R&D at a global level. They have built five R&D centers around the world. I think there is about fifty thousand people in R&D. And they spent about US$11 billion in R&D during the last calendar year (2014). Samsung operates in the technology space where there are always two guys in a garage somewhere thinking about the next big thing. Several companies and their competitors fall by the wayside in a short amount of time. Nokia was massive and in the space of about three years that company has gone from being number one in a growing category to an also ran… that’s how quickly it happens. The leadership at Samsung is very aware of the need to consistently innovate and reinvent themselves.
Samsung is the largest consumer electronics company in the world, but they are a company, which essentially is about connecting people. It’s been around for a hundred-odd years selling rice and has transformed itself over time to where now it sells TVs and smart phones and electronics. This has been done through a constant focus on innovation and investing in new technologies.