Innovation was the word of the day at our recent San Francisco Roundtable. The conversation was led by guest speaker, Annika Steiber, Founder and CEO of Innoway, a global company focused on corporate innovation.

Steiber reminded our CMOs that we are in the middle of a paradigm shift in the management of larger firms. Rigid structures and bureaucratic procedures are being cast aside for more dynamic and systemic work places. Pioneered in Silicon Valley, innovative companies are using both internal and external ecosystems to create an image of innovation for their brand:

Externally, CMOs can look to crowdsourcing and user-generated content for creative inspiration. Many cutting-edge start-ups are facilitating incubator work spaces, spin-ins and research cooperations, providing a physical space where ideas can flow freely.

Internally, it starts with hiring for innovation and must continue on up to the CMO and CEO.

Internal Culture: A Place Where Creativity is Fostered

It is more important than ever that today’s CMOs are visionary and entrepreneurial, promoting these two characteristics within each individual. They must create small, independent teams that can take the reins on a project and use their own critical thinking to effectively reach consumers.

Gone are the days of hiding Facebook pages and secret office IMing (not that any of us ever did that) – today’s CMOs must encourage collaborative tools and up-and-coming social media platforms.

Don’t know how best to use Trello or Periscope for your brand? How about hosting a day where your marketing team can only use a certain platform for internal communicating?

I bet they’ll have some fresh ideas after that.

CMOs have more freedom (and responsibility) to take risky moves like this and create the innovative image for their brand. A brand’s marketing message should be present beyond the surface of their website. Having a strong culture that each employee ‘gets’ will not only have a positive effect on the company’s market value, but will also attract the new, innovate talent that CMOs are searching for.

And that brings us full-circle, right back to hiring.