Publishers need to “update their mindsets, ways of thinking and business models" and "treat time like money" in order to survive and thrive, innovation expert Terence Mauri has said in a keynote speech at the IPG spring conference.
Meanwhile Nosy Crow's Kate Wilson has warned of the danger of "setting the innovation bar too high", saying that it can be "disempowering".
Mauri, author of The Leader's Mindset (Morgan James), discussed how publishers can use change to stay creative amid major disruption. He said: “Most of us are operating using mindsets that are still in the 20th century: for example, planning instead of iterating, [thinking in terms of] hierarchies instead of networking. The key take away is to ask yourself which mindsets you and your team are operating on. Are they 20th century or 21st century? It's no longer about big or small, it's about fast or slow. The rate of acceleration is truly breathtaking now.”
Arguing that in order to innovate, businesses need to make the familiar feel unfamiliar, Mauri proposed a “flipping around of deja vu”. "Deja vu is when the unfamiliar feels familiar, but you have to make the familiar feel unfamiliar. Imagine starting your business from scratch - what would you do differently?”
Mauri said there was a “crisis” in the way people use their time, arguing that most people spend 61% of time managing their work rather than doing their work. “There are so many battles for attention - mobiles, social media and so on - there is an interruption culture which makes it very difficullt to think clearly, strategically and creatively.”
He continued: “Treat time like money. Instead of spending time, invest your time. Spending time means wasting vital minutes, and it’s never been easier to waste time on the wrong things. Being more aware of time can force us to make clearer decisions on business. You’ve got to be stronger at protecting and defining your time.”
Mauri also discussed looking failure as a “badge of honour”. He said: “You can’t be creative, grow or change unless you're prepared to take risks. We need to look at failure in more a systematic way. Intelligent failure means failing cheap and failing fast. Consider what you intended to achieve, what happened, and what lessons learned were learned.”
In a panel on innovation immediately following the keynote, Kate Wilson, m.d. of Nosy Crow, Nicki Howard, director of Gill Books and Helen Kogan, m.d. of Kogan Page discussed innovation and failure in relation to their businesses. They highlighted the digital disruption which came to the fore between 2010 and 2011.
“In 2010/11, things started to change in publishing. Everyone felt the impact of the reduction of channels to market and of digital disruption”, Kogan said. “Digital disruption began to impact us in 2011, we could count on one hand the number of retailers that still existed following the closures of shops like Borders, Ottakar's.”
Speaking of the "exciting" period the industry is currently in, Kogan highlighted the “absolutely brilliant news” that Waterstones has reported a profit for the first time in five years.
Wilson discussed the danger of "setting the innovation bar too high", saying that it can be "disabling" and "disempowering". She added: "Every book we publish - [and] every book that you publish - is an innovation. The form may be the same, it may be be e-book or paper and card [but it's an] innovation." She said the new ideas each author comes up with should not be undervalued. "[Every time we publish a book], we have done something new. To forget that it is the idea and the content that matters, not the form or the process, is a huge mistake."