Digital Asset Innovation

"Without change, there is no innovation, creativity or incentive for improvement. Those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable.” -- William Pollard

Innovation, an active process of introducing something “new” or “different,” involves a commitment to looking at the world differently and making the conscious effort to change. The decision to implement a Digital Asset Management (DAM) system can be an innovative moment in gaining operational and intellectual control of your digital assets.

DAM brings with it great responsibility for how the organization’s assets will be efficiently and effectively managed and is essential to growth. Any successful DAM implementation requires more than just new technology; DAM requires a foundation for digital strategy. Creating the whole DAM solution -- and connecting it throughout your ecosystem -- means that your digital assets can be part of this innovation by generating revenue, increasing efficiencies and enhancing your ability to meet new and emerging market opportunities for your users.

If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old.” -- Peter F. Drucker 

Innovation Starts at Home

Every strategy needs a foundation -- that solid base upon which a structure rests and where meaning may be established. Many structures deserve attention and preparedness for the roadmap of work to be done when building the “House of DAM.” More importantly, these structures should be reviewed 
and discussed long before any technology has been considered, let alone purchased. Technology should never lead the decision-making process for DAM -- the business sets the foundation for strategy first. Technology is important, and the vendor review and selection process is a critical step in this process, but that step must follow the business requirements and digital strategy.

DAM encompasses the management tasks and technological functionality designed to enhance the inventory, control and distribution of digital assets. Digital assets include rich media such as photographs, videos, graphics, logos, marketing collateral. While most systems are initially required to house the large variety of media, DAM must also consider workflow surrounding the ingestion, annotation, cataloguing, storage, retrieval and distribution of digital assets for use and reuse in marketing or business operations. The metadata or descriptive information embedded in the asset adds these processes and increases the asset's value. 

 IT staff to all users (past and present), keeping a record of what’s happened to the assets and how they were used will help inspire others who seek to innovate for their future use. Expanding markets and complex supply chains for digital images demand constant updating, rethinking and redesign of DAM. Innovative thinking is required to keep apace with the change.

Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” -- Steve Jobs

Innovation Process

Drawing inspiration from Rod Collins’ book, “Wiki Management: A Revolutionary New Model for a Rapidly Changing and Collaborative World," there are five fundamental phases to the innovation and change management process that have a direct impact on how digital assets and DAM are understood and managed within an organization:

1. Understand What’s Most Important to Customers

Innovative leaders understand that the purpose of a business is to create customer value. The most effective organizations today are collaborative networks focused on delighting their customers.

The beginning of your DAM process must ask the question, “what’s most important to your customers?” Customer / user value is a moving target influenced by many factors both inside and outside the organization. This Initial Picture of the values influencing consumer choices and the developments that might reshape future market behavior will collate observations from:

  • Stakeholder Interviews
  • Market Analyses
  • Customer Segmentation Data
  • Industry Trends
  • Disruptive Developments
  • Financial Analyses
  • Winning Value Propositions

2. Aggregate and Leverage Collective Intelligence

The most effective organizations are those that have the capacity to quickly access and leverage their collective intelligence. An effective method to process the Initial Picture with your staff is in a Collective Intelligence Lab, where a microcosm of your organization is gathered to:

  • Collectively process key information
  • Work cross-functionally in small groups to think holistically and expansively about new and different ways to achieve better results
  • Engage in innovative large group processes to identify the best solutions and their related requirements

This work results in an Innovation Portfolio, a strategic framework for proactively managing the growth of your company in a time of change whether that be for maintenance, incremental change, platform change or disruptive change.

3. Build Shared Understanding by Bringing Everyone Together in Open Conversations

People are more likely to enthusiastically implement what they create. Fostering co-creation can be achieved with Collaboration Work-Through and Iterative Check-In sessions. A Collaboration Work-Through is a facilitated meeting process that empowers a diverse group of individuals to:

  • Quickly co-create a shared understanding of the key requirements for effective delivery
  • Identify the key drivers of timely implementation
  • Assure that everyone in the organization is on the right page at the start of critical strategic initiatives or operational projects

The Iterative Check-In is a customized cadence for gathering cross-functional teams and updating the shared understanding as changes occur both inside and outside the organization.

4. Focus on the Critical Few Performance Drivers

Information is power. An important part of effective change management design is making sure that people have the information they need to deliver extraordinary performance. In this phase a simple Focused Scorecard is created that serves as:

  • A powerful frame of reference for everyone to independently gauge progress
  • A communication tool to promote high engagement
  • A mechanism for aligning the distributed work throughout the organization with what’s most important to the success of your business

5. Hold People Accountable to Their Peers

Peer-to-peer networks are far more effective than top-down hierarchies to innovate and collaborate at te level needed to keep pace with a rapidly changing world. In this final phase, you need to create customized Peer Accountability Metrics that:

  • Link individual compensation to collaborative action
  • Provide incentives for innovative contributions
  • Reward advancing business interests over individual interests

Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and, therefore, the foundation of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathize with humans whose experiences we have never shared.” --  J.K. Rowling

Building the
 Business Innovation Case for DAM

A focus on innovation can have many positive impacts on the DAM. Consider the following examples of what innovative effects a DAM may have on users and the organization as a whole:

  • Support strategic organizational initiatives
  • Serve as a resource to gauge changes in customer values
  • Reduce costs

  • Generate new revenue opportunities
  • Provide better brand management
  • Improve collaboration and streamline creative workflow or competitiveness
  • Enable marketing agility and operational excellence

Brand and market position -- and the technologies to support brand success -- are essential to any organization’s growth. In order to be successful, leadership will need (and want) to initiate and socialize an innovative process that starts slow and then works towards a bigger and larger end state. Ultimately, this can have
 direct influence in workflows -- from packaging to engineering to licensing to social media to focus groups -- with full realization of the DAM serving as the key repository, the single source of truth for your assets. Technology adoption can be overly complex and challenging at times, but that does not need to be the case.

In order to harness that potential power, the right people need to be enabled to make changes, create innovative opportunities with digital assets and align DAM with the strategic goals of the organization. Make sure this opportunity exists to stand back and ensure problems are being solved with this particular DAM solution.

If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.” -- Albert Einstein

Innovation and Change

Technological innovation results in a constantly evolving business environment as data sharing transforms the organization. DAM is central to this change. Information and all its data and digital assets have become more available, accessible and in some ways more accountable in business. We live in a “big data” world with so much data at our discretion and under considerable scrutiny from our content creators, users and stakeholders alike. Our organizations need to be change with the times and not only this, but respond well and be comfortable with our solutions.

Digital Asset Innovation Drives Your Brand

Content is still king, and the ability to strategically set the foundation for the kingdom and take control of your digital assets with DAM
 is within your reach. The demand for digital assets used for the design, production and distribution
 of content is not only quantifiably high, but also qualifiably, due to its necessity and criticality in current business operations.

Simply stated, digital asset innovation drives your brand. To get your digital house in order, know what your internal business units and external partners need, and understand how you will need to deliver assets today -- and tomorrow -- across multiple channels and devices. Creative professionals and those in marketing, communications, operations and other areas require content as a cost of remaining competitive and delivering what the consumer wants.

The ability to provide assets of high value and quality in a timely basis is no longer a wish, it is the expectation.
 Using DAM effectively can deliver innovation through knowledge and measurable cost savings, time to market 
gains and greater brand voice consistency -- valuable and meaningful effects for your digital assets.

Title image by Igor Plotnikov /