Helen Southgate is Senior Online Marketing Manager, primarily responsible for affiliate and paid search, at BSkyB. 

Helen is also a member of the judging panel for Econsultancy’s Innovation Awards. The deadline for entries is this Friday. 

I’ve been asking Helen about what it takes to foster innovation within a company, and what she will be looking for from awards entries. 

What makes something innovative?

It doesn’t necessarily have to be a brand new invention or idea, although these are great.  Often it’s just around a better or more efficient way of doing something that creates new opportunities or efficiencies.

Can any company become innovative? What are the barriers to innovation within organisations?

Yes I believe so, it really depends on how well his is nurtured, encouraged and recognised within a company.  I also don’t think it can be forced either, like “think of two innovative ideas a week”, I don’t think innovation can be delivered by process management.

How do you persuade them to take risks and embrace innovative ideas?

This is a difficult one, especially in the current economic climate as risks can cost money. It’s about being able to identify those innovative ideas that are feasible and can be carried through.

Why is innovation so important in the digital arena? Is there still plenty of scope for new innovation?

Because the sector is dynamic and moves on very quickly, a few years ago we wouldn’t even have imagined creating marketing communications for an iPad for example!  

There is always scope for innovation in our sector and to engage with customers more effectively and creatively.

What will you be looking for when you judge entries to this year’s Innovation Awards?

An idea that has been well thought out, implemented well and has benefitted the company in some way whether that simply be through effectiveness, better ways to work or directly on the bottom line.  

It doesn’t have to be the new great idea of the century, some of the best innovations are simply better ways of doing something or finding a new way to use something.

What are your top three innovations for 2011?

Sky Go, content on the go, an amazing revolution in how Sky delivers content to consumers.

Augmented Reality advertising, some of the creative I have seen has been fantastic, a way at last to really make print media come to life and integrate print and digital marketing.

I know the iPad wasn’t launched in 2011 but what a brilliant innovation, not only for consumers but exciting for marketers to create new content specifically for tablets.

What do you see as the major trends in digital for the next 12 months?

Understanding multi-attribution, not only between marketing channels but also between devices such as mobile, desktop, tablet.  

Also, much more rich media content through mobile using augmented reality, putting print advertising back on the map but integrated seamlessly into digital.