Mark Wengritzky believes creativity is the greatest competitive advantage that humans have over machines, so he’s often puzzled why companies invest in innovative technology but don’t put the same money into innovative thinking.
“Too many companies think that being innovative is about building an app or getting the latest and greatest technology,” he says. “Technology is just an enabler. Creativity is the real source of innovation.”
As business development manager of Akqire, a Melbourne-based product development and innovation company, Wengritzky specialises in helping organisations come up with creative ways of reaching their customers and expanding their business. Rather than working as a traditional marketing company, Akqire helps companies cut through advertising noise to reach the heart of their customers.
“If you want to be at the forefront of change, creativity is something that needs to be celebrated.”
“A lot of companies are spending so much money on marketing without actually looking at what their customers want,” he says. “We help companies create innovative products and services by looking at who their customers are and what their pain points might be.”
Brightday, an online platform that aims to make it easier for people to make choices about their superannuation, is one example of Akqire’s work. Akqire’s research showed that people were looking for greater control over their investment decisions, so it worked with Eureka Report to design a new model for advisory services. The Brightday platform provides investors with research and knowledge to assist them in managing their own superannuation.
Sometimes a company’s culture is its own impediment to innovative thinking, says Wengritzky. “Companies know they need to innovate and they may have innovation teams and gather customer insights, but their culture often gets in the way. It may be that people just want to follow their boss’s ideas to keep them happy without ever saying what their own ideas might be. It just means that the breadth of ideas become restricted.”
Mark Wengritzky believes more companies should invest in creativity (Photo: Eamon Gallagher)
He adds that businesses may need to think beyond their traditional service offering if they want to remain relevant to their customers. He points to the challenges insurance companies face in engaging with millennials. “Instead of following a traditional approach to marketing or engagement, why not look at what is changing within the demographic, what they want now and what service they might need that’s not necessarily insurance in its traditional form,” he suggests.
It’s this kind of creative thinking that can lead to innovative solutions. “If you want to be at the forefront of change, creativity is something that needs to be celebrated.”