Real-World Education for Modern Marketers

Join Over 600,000 Marketing Professionals

Start here!
Text:  A A

What Pinterest Teaches Us About Innovation

by Chad McCloud  |  
February 27, 2012

In this article, you'll learn...

  • Three lessons about innovating that businesses can learn from Pinterest
  • Three structural steps to maximize your company's innovation efforts

Innovations from businesses are continually changing our world via new products and customer experiences. But anyone who has ever been locked in a brainstorming session knows that the hard part is the process that leads to the innovation.

True innovation is difficult to generate, and even harder to repeat. That scarcity of inspiration is what drives companies to look for new and interesting ways to acquire it.

Pinterest, a relatively new social network, provides a refreshing perspective on the pursuit of inspiration. Quickly becoming one of the more addictive sites on the Web, Pinterest is a global bulletin board for images that inspire, trigger laughter, or amuse... because they are just plain cool.

Members can post images of virtually anything, categorize them for easy reference, and create their own pinboards that contain other images of interest to them. Some of us have "lost" loved ones to Facebook or reality TV; it's a good bet that within the next year you will "lose" a loved one to Pinterest.

People use Pinterest for more reasons that I can fathom, but what struck me instantly was the spirit of innovation within the posted images. Some images show a creative combination of concepts that aren't typically associated with one another. For example, this image merges a staircase and a bookshelf by turning each step into a shelf of books.

The collection of such images, when viewed together on a page, starts to form a neural network of interconnected and inspirational ideas.

Three Innovation Lessons

Sign up for free to read the full article.Read the Full Article

Membership is required to access the full version of this how-to marketing article ... don't worry though, it's FREE!


We will never sell or rent your email address to anyone. We value your privacy. (We hate spam as much as you do.) See our privacy policy.

Sign in with one of your preferred accounts below:

Chad McCloud is executive director at Jabian Consulting, an Atlanta-based strategic management and technology consultancy. He designs customer-driven strategies and new product innovation efforts that deepen relationships that companies have with customers.

Rate this  

Overall rating

  • This has a 5 star rating
  • This has a 5 star rating
  • This has a 5 star rating
  • This has a 5 star rating
  • This has a 5 star rating
1 rating(s)

Add a Comment


  • by Roy Young Mon Feb 27, 2012 via web

    Fascinating subject! Terrific article, Chad. Really valuable lessons for the creative process for R&D and marketing communications.

    Two thoughts:
    1. Seems to me effective creations on Pinterest require original thinking and curiosity, two rare resources.
    2. In addition, these insights seem to challenge the conventional view that brainstorming -- uncensored and free of judgments -- is the most effective way for organizations to innovate.

  • by Lauren at Volusion Mon Feb 27, 2012 via web

    Being on a platform like Pinterest can really humanize a brand for customers. It's important to share different aspects of your business from company culture to services and more.

    Don't be afraid to post quirky or unusual pinboards. With tons of eye-popping images on the web, it's an easy way to start a dialogue with potential customers. Thanks!

    Lauren at Volusion

  • by Isobelle Pover Mon Feb 27, 2012 via web

    This describes well in laymanís terms what a cross-diciplinary design performs in its process and a route for commerce that creativity delivers to the promotion of products and services.
    This is an area in which I have tired to promote myself to large enterprises who want 'brand marketersí to develop new products and services. They remain in the traditional marketers approach. Designers who have cross disciplinary training and the design background in brand identities and branded products but have understood the platform we can work in.
    Pinterest develops this one theme to a commercial success.

  • by Hal Schlenger Sat Mar 3, 2012 via web

    Thanks for sharing your insight to address a problem of problem solving. In agreeing with Roy's points above ("original thinking and curiosity, two rare resources"), Chad has brought to light a way to address original thinking.

    Chad's 3 Structure Steps for Maximum Impact reflect needed discipline instead of the 'Divine Inspiration' method. With an establish goal or objective, Pinterest can help one jump start the thinking by providing visual images and more (Chad's step 2).

    Yes, there can be discipline in being creative. (Makes one go Hmmm.)

MarketingProfs uses single
sign-on with Facebook, Twitter, Google and others to make subscribing and signing in easier for you. That's it, and nothing more! Rest assured that MarketingProfs: Your data is secure with MarketingProfs SocialSafe!