Kim Riley

Invention by Reinvention

Picture this: You’re in a meeting. Someone has an idea. Your team talks it over, and a problem arises. Your blinders go up. This person won’t allow it. That process can’t support it. No, but, can’t.

Nothing stands in the way of new ideas like old systems and outdated thinking. Successful market inventors, no matter the industry, eliminate barriers to creativity by leading with yes: challenging the norm and rethinking the processes that stand in the way of new ideas.

Consider the great market inventors of our time: Netflix, Nest, Salesforce, Pixar. They all rose to the top by challenging something that already exists. They said: “It doesn’t have to be like this,” and applied creativity, insight, art and technology to solve problems and create better experiences. They gave us something we didn’t know we wanted. Until we wanted it, and we needed it.

So when you’re up against the odds, back out of the inevitable and run your idea by a few things we tell our clients everyday:

Make sure the idea benefits your entire ecosystem.

Industry Influencers.

Define your intent.

Don’t say your goal is to generate more revenue. That’s an outcome. Carefully consider what you intend to achieve with your idea, and make it measurable.

Take inventory of your resources.

Know who your strongest players are. Rally around group thinking. Put profound user experience at the center of your idea. Be creative. Tell a story, and build affinity for your cause across the organization. Know how your idea maps to existing systems, so if it’s avoidable, you don’t have to constantly create new systems to support your ideas. If the old ones don’t work, put them under a microscope before you dump them.

Do your research.

Be honest with the amount of market intelligence you own, especially regarding your customers. And if you don’t have the research, seek help from a third party, either outside of your organization or outside of your industry. Objectivity is key to market invention.

Hire us.

This is a shameless plug. But market invention is what we do every day. Reach out to us, and let’s talk.


To close, when you find yourself trapped in a conversation of barriers and limitations, play out the alternatives. Think about how your idea maps to existing systems, resources and research, be brave and ask yourself, “Is there a better way?”

About Kim Riley

Kim is the Managing Director of Merit's East coast operation. She's a communicator, a strategist, a realist. Kim builds award-winning insight, creative, and technical inventions by translating customer needs into activations of a brand.

See More



Web Design and Market Invention

Web designers are the architects that create the visual elements of the site, the stuff the user sees. Web developers create the functionality that works in the background. When working together, the two disciplines deliver a seamless, clean experience that ignites a buyer’s interest.

Design and Market Invention

Understanding how to use—or not use—design archetypes is at the core of a well-planned Market Invention strategy. Market Invention can use a shift in brand imaging or messaging to pivot into a new market and target unreached customers.


Digital Media and Market Invention

But before you rush off to the first digital media strategist you can find, consider this: does good digital media marketing really mean just matching the trends of the day? Or, since those trends will always be shifting and evolving, might there be some underlying strategy at the base of all that (very important) surface-level stuff?

Trevor Stauffer
Five Lessons From the Growing Artisan Economy

We hear a lot about the artisan economy. It’s a movement towards personalized, hand-made, small-scale production that has been gaining lots of momentum in the US. So much momentum, in fact, that artisans are taking a measurable chip out of mid-sized manufacturers. According to the Inter-American Development Bank, if the artisan economy were a country, it would have the fourth largest economy in the world. While larger sized businesses obviously cannot compete with some aspects of the artisan economy, they can certainly reflect on some of the principles that are propelling artisan growth and apply them to their own organizations.

Trevor Stauffer

Nonni's Biscotti owns its Market, but will it stay in first place?

Before Nonni’s came out with its first gourmet cookies in 1988, few Americans had a clue what a biscotti was. But the company presented its simple, crunchy cookies as a classier, healthier alternative to traditional American cookies, and biscotti soon became a national trend.

Casey Boggs

Portland, Oregon: A Growing U.S. Market of Invention

Portland, Oregon has promptly become one of America’s most alluring and fastest-growing cities. According to the U.S. Census, the Rose City is growing at clip of 1.36 percent per year. Known for its unmatched lifestyle, food, and drink, the city is also notorious for its creative weirdness. Yes, “Keep Portland Weird” is not only a cute motto, but a way of life.

Casey Boggs
How A Corporate Crisis Leads To Market Invention

In the past year, several companies have seen their previously respected reputations, staff morale, and overall profits severely dwindle as a result of a damning crisis that hit their business. However, a crisis should be seen as a learning lesson and opportunity to change, improve and invent.

Kim Riley

This week's market inventions: Healthcare, self-driving trucks, and more

Healthcare reinvention, self-driving trucks, homeless vending machines and Arizona’s first beer barley industry all made an appearance this month as examples of how to reinvent your market.

Harrisburg Office
2201 N Front Street, Harrisburg, PA 17110
Portland Office
917 SW Oak Street #303, Portland, OR 97205