What does innovation mean to you?

Q&A with Ayman Aly, Senior Marketing Manager, Canon Middle East.



What is your role within Canon?

A: My role involves turning ideas from available resources into solutions that add value to both businesses and customers; this can often be a completely new solution.

Q: Describe how innovation works in your role – how do you stay creative?
A: As a Professional Solution Marketing Manager, innovation allows me to really differentiate Canon’s offering, providing very competitively positioned solutions. To stay creative, I’m always challenging myself to find better ways of introducing Canon products and solutions to the market. A big part of this is encouraging and inviting new ideas from colleagues to help constructively develop new products.

Q: What approaches do you take to inspire your team to innovate? How do you enable that innovation?
A: I always welcome and encourage ideas that can add value to customers or develop business. During team meetings, brainstorming is used to overcome challenges and find new business opportunities. My role – after challenging and validating ideas with the team – is to take the required action in the company to transform those ideas into valuable solutions.

Q: How do your team’s ideas translate into innovation at an organizational level?
A: The team is made up of product managers (PM), who are responsible for positioning Canon’s value proposition differently in the market, and business development managers (BDM), who help Canon’s solutions deliver value to customers through their offerings. To achieve this level of differentiation, a very high level of innovation is required from the PM side – by innovating new business applications with Canon products and technologies, such as customizing interior décor, personalized and customized customer communications, and customized photo books. Such innovative ideas help customers become more efficient and effective at finding new opportunities.


What are the benefits of innovation at Canon?

A: Innovation is critical to keep the company competitive and to defend our leadership position. Innovation always adds value, and hence the business grows profitably.

Q: Are you able to give us a couple of examples where you used innovation to improve business results for clients?
A: Canon Middle East Innovation Centre:
Converting the Canon Middle East (CME) showroom to the Innovation Centre had a strong impact on business improvement. A core part of this conversion was to produce all Canon Middle East marketing materials at the Innovation Centre. CME benefited greatly from the move:

  • - More credibility since customers who visit the Innovation Centre sees that Canon is using solutions we sell.
  • - Benefiting from digital through customizing and personalizing customer communication, short runs, and print on demand.
  • - Gaining real-life experience by running a full-production printing operation, which helps the Canon team provide valuable consultation to our customers.
  • - Saving on warehousing costs and waste.

Education for Life:
Using Canon hardware, software, and service to create different technology solutions that help the education industry streamline processes, improving their quality of education delivery. The solutions address the student, teacher, and administration.

Digital book printing:
Most of the vendors are focused on how to produce a book on a digital printer, however at Canon, we look at the entire industry – from the author’s writing through to the design, printing, publishing, distribution, and purchase. Printing is only one of the steps on the value chain. We develop solutions that go beyond mere printing and enable consumer purchasing, reduced waste, decreased costs and other initiatives. Whether it’s via digital printing or mobile apps, we look at industry-level technology.


Why do you personally believe Canon is the leader in software innovation for business?

A: Canon is keen to produce technology that meets our customers’ requirements. Unlike others in the market, Canon is focused on providing a complete, customized service with unmatchable quality and performance, doing more than just showing the product as being different.

Q: What are the biggest challenges facing your clients today?
A: Beating our personal best in efficiency and effectiveness across all industries.

Q: What’s next for Canon?
A: For Canon Middle East, we will continue focusing on business applications that support modern marketing and customer communication channels. We will also continue our work in developing solutions for related industries like commercial printing, publishing, and interior décor – we will achieve this through understanding each industry’s complete value chain.

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