Do you tune out when the air safety video is launched at the beginning of a flight? Be honest… Now imagine an air safety video themed with a highly anticipated film that is so entertaining that passengers actually look forward to watching the video. In addition, imagine that people who aren’t even flying seek the video out on YouTube and spread it – for free – so that it has become a highly successful, cost effective part of the airline’s marketing campaign, the marketing campaign for the film, and the marketing campaign promoting their country’s tourism industry.
This is exactly the story at Air New Zealand. Their latest video is “An Unexpected Briefing,” which builds on buzz from the new film “The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey.” While humorous air safety videos are not new, the triple-win aspect of this video makes it especially innovative and valuable.
This is just one concrete example of what we call “innovation leadership,” and it’s a true accomplishment. First, it takes commitment from top leadership to be willing to consciously shape and define innovation as creating new value in all aspects of business enterprise, rather than confining it to developing new products and services for purchase. Second, it requires leaders to continuously communicate and promote this view of innovation throughout the organization. And third, it requires leaders to recognize and address the many cultural norms in existence that can either advance and inadvertently block this approach to innovation in response to the challenges and opportunities their company faces.
We’ll be on the lookout for more “unexpected places” that exemplify our view of “innovation leadership” and feature them in future posts. In the meantime, we understand that Air New Zealand is already working on creating their next safety video. We can’t wait!