Ditch the spreadsheet for content analysis.

You Can't Add Your Way to Innovation

Last updated September 7th, 2018. First published

Key Points

  • Don't look outdated by only adding glitzy new one-offs.
  • Remember that your site visitor may arrive at your new content but they may want something else that is "close".
  • Innovation should be introduced: 1) when explicitly short-lived, 2) as a true experiment, or 3) deployed broadly.
Related resource
Microsite Checklist | Use this one page checklist to decide whether to create that microsite

Most organizations attempt to innovate by adding new stuff.

But if all you do is add, then you end up looking outdated quickly. While inside the organization you are concentrating on the newest thing, your site visitors are probably stumbling onto all the old stuff, which now looks horribly out of fashion (if not completely wrong). In other words, over time the very thing you are attempting (innovation) is making you actually seem quite dated.

Let’s consider your web presence as a house, and you have just launched your new jewel and published it (perhaps it is a new microsite). The first problem occurs when your site visitor arrives somewhere else (obviously in a complex website they could wind up in some obscure page that you have long ago forgotten about) and is not even aware of your new stuff (also remember they may want something different, so this isn’t just about being more prominent about your new stuff).

Don't publish your jewel content in a disconnected fashion or your user might not even see them.

Fast forward a year, and you are about to publish your next jewel. Yet again, you are innovating! Just like last time, you’re not going to do things the same way — you’re going to apply all the gee-whiz stuff you can throw at it. And you certainly are not going to be hamstrung by the limitations of the ridiculous CMS that you have in place. But wait — the jewel that we published a while ago starts looking more like a dated joke. That old jewel starts looking a bit like MC Hammer (cool at the time, but mostly humorous now).

Don't just consider how things look upon publish — that uniqueness may look quite dated later.

If we fast forward a few years all those innovative (at the time) jewels look like a menagerie of different styles across the lifetime of your web presence. Now the jewel you first published looks even more dated, and the new one is obscured by all the clutter.

Remember that all the special functionality, content, and presentation implemented at different times will look dated (to different eras) if done in a disjointed way.

There is another way. Fundamentally, innovation needs to either: a) be explicitly short-lived (like a campaign that will expire and be taken down rather than live forever), b) an experiment that will either be subsumed, labeled, or taken down later, or c) implemented in a way that makes the change broadly and for the long term.

Microsite Checklist Use this one page checklist to decide whether to create that microsite