Guest blog by Rebecca Ruddock, marketing executive of wewow which makes bespoke and eco-friendly CD and DVD packaging. Wewow has a close relationship with Bradford University School of Management – taking MBA students to carry out projects, going on the School’s courses and using the School’s resources
Constant innovation – every employee can deliver
Over the past six years wewow has gone from being a supplier of high-quality CD and DVD cases to an all-singing, all-dancing CD and DVD replication and duplication company. We differentiate ourselves with bespoke and eco-friendly packaging for companies such as Amazon and BBC Worldwide.
The development of the new packaging has been a creative journey and we have had to learn about completely new areas such as sustainable board, environmentally friendly printing and ingenious design. We have to keep constantly changing and learning – and managing the innovation process is now a key strategic business issue.
So what do we do to encourage innovation?
1. No idea is a bad idea
We start from the point of view that every member of our team has something to contribute to new ideas to keep our products ahead of the market.
We have notice boards around the office and pin up everyone’s ideas as well as cuttings and information on eco products and materials from other industries. There is something new every day.
Boards and suggestion boxes are notorious for starting out enthusiastically and then interest waning over a period.
We’ve kept ours energised in a number of ways
We have a monthly competition with a prize or voucher for the best idea
Every idea is taken seriously and discussed
In our weekly meetings we discuss the ideas and tell everyone how they are being progressed
2. Examples of innovation
Ideas from our team include
A way to achieve short-runs by finding a new card that would go through printers
A suggestion to have an eco-calculator on our website so that customers can calculate the potential carbon savings of changing from plastic packaging to eco-friendly solutions – we are trialling a first step on this
A bio-degradable tray to go in jewel CD cases to hold the CDs firm – this is being developed at the moment
We see innovation as being more about lots of small new ways every day to improve our products, service, website, processes – rather than a few occasional, big ideas.
3. Encouraging clients to challenge us
A lot of our innovation comes from accepting challenges from our clients. One client wanted a completely new package for an EP on a merry-go-round. We came up with a really clever spiral – and in fact it was not only great as a theme for the product, we also realised it needed no tray, no glue and had no plastic. So very environmentally friendly! And it is really eye-catching.
We are now developing this into a new range of products which are both aesthetic and cost-effective.
We were recently finalists in the Business Commitment to the Environment (BCE) awards, partly because of this design and our sustainable creativity.
Working with our business school in Bradford
We are lucky to have the north’s top business school on our doorstep – Bradford University School of Management – and we have a really great relationship with them.
Last year we took on an MBA student , Yuvaraj Eswaran , to help us develop an exporting strategy – he was really great and we are in the process of implementing this.
Our business has ambitious plans and to position ourselves as the leading suppliers of eco-friendly packaging. We will only do this through constant innovation – and all of our team have a role to play in our development.
We’d love to hear other organisations’ tips on how they keep innovating.