Good ideas can come from anywhere – just ask the kids

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One of the benefits of being on a lot of long-haul flights is that it presents an opportunity for reflection. Come to think of it, it’s possibly the only benefit amid the distinct negatives of sleep-deprivation and being required to eat something you wouldn’t normally touch with plastic cutlery.

So having spent much of last week in Las Vegas at the ISPA conference, the 10-hour flight back to London was a chance to mull over the conversations and presentations and work out which ideas and recommendations can make that transition from ‘interesting thought’ to real life.

Mike Walsh, whose company advises companies on how to negotiate the minefield that is technological change (always a hot topic), was one speaker who managed to do that amazing thing: talk about technology in a way that was practical, accessible and free of geek-speak.

It’s all about looking at things differently, he says. Take marketing. A one-size-fits-all marketing strategy no longer cuts it, because it’s just not personal enough. Everyone – and particular those whose childhoods have been spent surrounded by smart phones – has become used to being able to tailor everything to their personal tastes and needs.

But how does this translate to business? Well, who better to ask than the people who have spent a lifetime immersed in this technology. Yes, the kids. Mike suggested having a kind of teen think tank, where a bunch of youngsters could be sat down with a blank sheet of paper and carte blanche to come up with their own ultimate spa experience, for example. One thing’s for certain: they’ll suggest with something that is exactly what they want.

With that in mind, our MD has taken Mike’s advice and asked her son what, if he were running Fashionizer, would he do that would add to the business? Here’s just a snippet of what he said (he had a lot to say…):

“The internet is a bit of popularity contest, but your business is not really focused around popularity but quality; it’s like being Vivienne Westwood and then suddenly saying, I am for everyone, when of course this is not true. Your company is about having decisive clients who want the best product on the market, not just any product that is popular. I guess the most important thing is to stand tall and say that this company is the best at what it does, and that if people want the best this is where you go. Many young people love a good campaign. For example, one could get into a campaign that supports using quality fabrics, quality staff, and that focuses on equal rights throughout the industry: ‘No more cheap China products!’

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