Pragmatic innovation

In my previous roles I have been at the forefront of what I call “pragmatic innovation”.

What this means is quite simple: being at the forefront of the digital landscape with a solid audience focus and with clear goals for the organisation in mind. Whether it’s dramatically growing awareness or income, or something in between, I have a knack for taking the latest innovations and making them work practically.

It is not about doing something flashy or showing off to win a few awards: it is very specifically about serving the wider purpose. Being both a team player and the star of the show, which isn’t easy to pull off – though when it works…

What does this include? A few things:

  • At Red Bull I managed the launch of its VR channel at redbull.com/VR, working with senior stakeholders within the organisation to ensure that the highest expectations were met. At this stage the implementation was experimental and aimed at establishing processes to ensure the company is now at the forefront of the field, with a growing content library it can draw upon in the years to come.
  • The Air Ambulance Service was amongst the very first charities in the UK to be awarded access to Facebook’s official fundraising tools, which I immediately utilitised so that we raised more donations for Children’s Air Ambulance in a single day on the social platform than we had for the entire previous month the year before across its other donation income streams. Within six months we had more than doubled digital donations thanks to this and other smaller innovations.
  • At The Air Ambulance Service I also worked to ensure were were one of the first charities in the entire world to use crypto-mining so that users can raise money for us using the processing power of their computers – entering the age of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency while partnering with an innovative startup so that there are no upfront costs to us. This ensured reward both in terms of income and positive PR with little risk.
  • I created some of the BBC’s first iWonder interactive guides – as a learning product they were assumed to have limited audience appeal, but I partnered with BBC Sport and Match of the Day to launch a guide which reached an audience of 250,000 within a single day.
  • Back before they became ubiquitous I foresaw the oncoming popularity of social networks to create, launch, and manage STV’s first Facebook and Twitter pages, able to identify the right content mix and determine best use across platforms. This adoption was fundamental to us growing our audience from 5000 to more than 200,000 within the space of a few years.
  • At The Herald I produced and published its first ever podcast, again marking us out uniquely amongst Scottish competitors and establishing how we could do this on a limited budget with relative ease. Soon after I went on to be amongst the first group to receive video training, anticipating how popular the content format would be before it was a pivotal revenue driver for organisations.
  • There are also plenty of other smaller-scale innovations that I have been responsible for at each organisation. For example, with Red Bull I commissioned the first vertical “scrubbable” interactive while at STV I worked with in-house designers and developers to implement online voting tools for one of its primetime programmes – a virtual jukebox so the audience could choose their own playlist for Scotland’s Greatest Album. Each time the user experience is at the forefront, and from a media background I am able to work within extremely limited resources to make maximum impact.