Innovation at a tactical level is process improvement, progressive organizations step further by promoting and offering a reminder to think strategically. As we combine the concepts of strategic and critical thinking with an eye on the future, and informed with data, we start to see the “vision of innovation.”

Project Description

The client C-suite team felt the regional CMO’s could expand the reach of the organization by being more “in-tune” with the strategic objectives of the company. This project was presented to us as a “learning event” yet over time it took on a wider scope with meeting interventions, idea generation sessions, and facilitated “thinking” groups. All of these actions led to an obvious need to define and then articulate actions around innovation within the strategic objectives of the firm.


The client is a multi-national insurer, wealth management and financial advisor with a significantly diverse and geographically leadership team and customer base.


Help the CMOs think about marketing initiative “manifestation” through the filters of culture, demographic, generation and product mix. The teams had varied levels of agendas and with some steadfast old school vs. new wave thinkers in the group, we needed to use “conflict” as a positive influence on the process. Ultimately, the cohort needed to enhance the way they collaborated and thought about innovation within each vertical of their sphere of influence.


We designed a sub-set to the CMO team that spanned a wider cross-functional gap, thus pairing CMOs that had never collaborated. The first sessions were structured to “educate” each of them on the others region. Then, we created a strategically aligned marketing plan with definitions, goals and risks & assumptions. Once this data collection process was complete we litmus tested it all within a SWOT analysis exercise. The results between the “cross-functional” groups varied widely from the “old-school” groups and illuminated without any doubt that more diversity and transparency was needed to generate the results the firm needed from the marketing effort. Through this analysis we were able to guide the teams toward new ideas, shared vision and better macro alignment.  This was accomplished by building a culture of innovation and then cultivating thought leadership, idea generation, and thinking modes to baseline as the norm across the group.


The above solution resulted in:

  • Higher moral within all of the CMO regions at the sub-team level.
  • More overt collaboration between CMO regions resulting in innovation and creativity.
  • An observation of skills gaps within the CMO group that needed training solutions.
  • Less marketing campaigns and spend with higher impact due to “thinking” before design/build/launch.
  • Development of a CMO peer review process.
  • Development of a CMO “seat at the table” program to rotate CMOs through the C-suite meetings.
  • A CMO strategic planning template that was driven by and inclusive of, innovation at its core.