Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Innovating the model of innovation at Avios

New Digital Age has proudly partnered with the AAR for the launch of its Fightback podcast.

Robin Charney is director of digital and innovation at  AAR, and host of the Fightback podcast.

Five years ago, almost every big company seemed to be developing an accelerator programme for working with start-ups. The problem was there was often no engagement after those programmes – few people in the business wanted to take on the resulting products or services.

So at travel and leisure rewards scheme Avios, Chief Digital Officer Stephen Scott (better known as Scotty) has been looking to innovate the organisation’s innovation model to make it work better for its start-up partners.

Now Avios not only has an accelerator to act as a front door for start-ups and introduce them to the right people in the business, it also has an incubator that allows it to take products to market within six months, and an investment arm that backs emerging businesses. It’s a combination that’s giving the company a significant leg up in the world of corporate innovation.

Avios is the subject of this edition of Fightback, the podcast where I talk to the people behind the innovation programmes of some the UK’s best-known heritage brands.

If you’ve listened to the other editions, you’ll know something that always comes up is integrating innovation back into the business. Scotty makes two really interesting points about this in our conversation.

The first is to work out who needs to come with you on the innovation journey; if someone doesn’t want to, and they’re not going to be affected by the change, let them be.

The second is that pushing people in a direction they don’t want to go never works; you have to go through people rather than round them. And his top tip in that situation is to give the target of the change to someone you’re not sure wants to be part of that change.

It was great geeking out with Scotty — talking about the similarities between today’s digital transformation and the early days of web development. I learn something from every Fightback conversation, and I hope you will too.

Listen to the podcast here: