If innovation has no purpose then is it innovative? Thought Leadership Digibate


One of the myriad of meanings for Innovation is explained as follows; “Innovation is often viewed as the application of better solutions that meet new requirements, unarticulated needs, or existing market needs”Innovation is really a confusing buzzword which many people love to hate and every business leader agrees that it is important. But nobody can quite seem to agree on what it actually is or what it means. Many CMO’S are met with instructions and even orders to “innovate”, but innovate what? Coming up with a blue-tooth salt and pepper shaker is not innovation, it’s a gimmick and yes it may help you sell you salt and pepper shakers, but did it solve a need in the market?

We put 5 leading South African’s Thought Leaders in a room together and asked them to try unpack what innovation is;

The following key issues were discussed:

  • What is innovation?
  • Fostering a culture of innovation
  • Team work and collaboration to drive innovation, remembering that timing is key
  • There’s no way to predict R.O.I on innovation; how much of your budget should be set aside for it?
  • Should agencies be charging for the Intellectual Property when they come up with an innovation on behalf of their clients or should it be a partnership?
  • How innovation in Africa differs from our European, Asian and American market



  • Graham Deneys – Group Strategy Director SA and SSA at Carat – Graham is responsible for the strategic output at Carat South Africa and the SSA region, ensuring a consistent and innovative approach to media, communication and product across multiple markets.
  • Michael Zylstra – Chief Strategy officer for Sub-Saharan Africa for Dentsu Aegis Network – Michael has held executive roles at many of the country’s top-tier agencies helping world-famous brands develop digital leadership. He brings this wealth of accumulated expertise in strategy and CRM to his current role as strategic lead.
  • Dawn Rowlands, CEO Dentsu Aegis Network sub-Saharan has unsurpassed experience and expertise in the marketing, advertising and media industries across sub-Saharan Africa. Rowlands has been responsible for the growth of the SSA Network expanding the footprint going from 5 owned markets to 10 in 12 months. DAN now has owned offices in South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Zambia, Uganda, Senegal and Ivory Coast.
  • Eitan Stern – Founder of Legalese – the disruptive creative legal “solutionist” and tech start-up entrepreneur – www.legalese.co.za
  • Justin Gomes is the creative founding partner of FoxP2, one of SA’s most creative agencies over the last decade. Justin sits on the South African Creative Circle Exco board as well and has won countless innovation and creative awards.


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