Walgreens, Celebrity Apprentice and Combustible Innovation

by Dean DeBiase

What have I learned from participating in this week’s Celebrity Apprentice with Donald Trump?  Innovation is one of those things that you can’t necessarily plan. It can happen anytime, anywhere—often in a flash.

The key is to place yourself in a position to recognize the often obscure opportunity when it happens and be ready to move quickly.

Case in point – the new Entertainment.com™ Savings Membership that will be launched exclusively with Walgreens starting Monday, April 9th.

When Entertainment decided to participate in this season’s Celebrity Apprentice it was because we recognized it as a innovative marketing platform that reached millions of people and enabled a myriad of unique promotional opportunities.  We weren’t necessarily looking for a new partner, too.

But in the midst of production, there was Walgreens, also participating in the show, and for the same reasons.  They saw it as a great platform to promote their wonderful  “Walk With Walgreens” program – an innovative program for sure.

As Entertainment and Walgreens, who are in back-to-back episodes, spent time together, we began to realize the synergies that existed between the two organizations and how we could develop some timely opportunities to deliver a unique value to their customers.  From that sprang a new idea and rapid prototyping. That’s something that is often missing from the equation—partners with a joint sense of mission, purpose, passion and sense of urgency to do something remarkable together.

And that’s how innovation comes about—people making the inconceivable happen.  The best ones often happen in a compressed amount of time—in a pressure cooker—like on the show.  We all know that innovation needs a reboot now and then  It’s not just the process that gets the mind working in wonderful way, discussion, exploration, investigation and “what ifs”, is often not enough.  Bringing the right people together at the right time, making a decision and then making something happen together—now that’s magic.

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We launched the new Entertainment.com™ Savings Membership card program with Walgreens in record time—and cobranded it with Donald Trump and the Celebrity Apprentice to boot.  Instead of the normal cycle time of quarters and months, our teams tossed out the rule books, asked what is possible, and did it together in a short few weeks.  Coming up with a remarkable idea is only half of innovation.  It is successful execution that turns them into award-winning, break-away product launches.  One of Walgreen’s top executives, who was also on the Celebrity Apprentice, Joe Magnacca, saw our opportunity, rallied his troops to partner with us, and magic ensued. It is that kind of operating intuitiveness that separates innovative leaders from followers in business today.

And it’s all the more reason why you should never limit yourself, never turn down an opportunity.  Because you never know when you will find innovation in a flash.

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Dean DeBiaseA serial CEO and innovation speaker, Dean DeBiase is the Chairman and CEO of entertainment.com, co-founder of boardroominnovation.com and Innovation Excellence, and a co-author of The Big Moo.

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  1. It is negligent of walgreens and celebrity apprentice to make a huge reference to diabetes without distinguishing between type one and type two diabetes. If you know the facts you should keep it honestly informative . There is a huge difference and if you are going to refer to it nationally, you should make it clear instead of insulting innocent children who are dealing with type one through no fault of their own.

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