The Only Answer is to Keep it Fresh


Given that we are in an increasingly competitive environment, where can we find innovation in events? Well, according to the innovation matrix, it’s in both process and product and of varying scales from the incremental change to radical shifts but that’s true of any sector. Events are such a broad spectrum that there is little consistency in process and almost none in product and so both functions provide great opportunities for new ideas and improvement.

From the product innovation point of view, Glastonbury this year has created yet another creative programme that includes the usual headliners matched with a bit of madness but they have also chosen to include performances by English National Ballet. Not the most obvious of choices but certainly an innovative one on both sides. ENB don’t usually perform at festivals and the physical environment at a festival is not the easiest for dancers to work in. The Glastonbury audience is also not made up of their usual attendees – great audience development opportunity but could go wrong quite easily! It’s perhaps a sign of increasing economic confidence that both Glastonbury and ENB are willing to take this kind of risk.

Similarly (in innovation terms), Rambert have announced their live digital event where they will be streaming a live discussion later this week with Christopher Bruce and a number of the other greats of British dance from their brand new studios on the south bank. Rambert are Britain’s oldest dance company so not known for their digital events and this project represents that departure from their norm to generate wider and new audiences.

Technological developments are often the driver for change and, as above, open opportunities for innovation.  The danger is that innovation is based on ideas and possibilities without a grounding in market and customer needs and wants. The trick with creating new products and services is to balance all of the stakeholder requirements and desires with the financial and operational viability and then match in with the organisational strategy. Not always easy but it’s vital to keep evolving and taking risks to stay in business. When we are in that competitive environment and there are significant economic pressures, we have to keep improving, listening to our customers and changing (or our business will die….).

Claire Eason Bassett, Managing Director, Mackerel Sky


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