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An Innovation Department Is Like A Rolex Watch

By September 18, 2018 No Comments

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It’s been three weeks since one of the largest advertising agencies dismissed me and my team; the innovation facilitator between the group and its clients.

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Believe it or not, I hate the word innovation. It’s included in two of my job titles, and it irritates me. Not because it’s not important, but because it should be fundamental. Liri Andersson, founder of ‘this fluid world’ once said to me whilst we worked on her digital report with INSEAD:

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Why do we have heads of digital? When electric was discovered in the nineteenth century, we didn’t have “head of electricity?”

\nThe point Liri made was that digital shouldn’t be just part of a business or agency. It should run through its very veins. I feel the same way about innovation.\n\n \n\n


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Just like a Rolex watch is there to impress your friends or clients, as is an innovation department. It’s a way to show the success. It’s why there is currently a ton of smaller agencies trying to imitate what we’ve been successfully doing for the last nine years.

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I’ll admit that Innovation Departments don’t have a direct way to make money – that’s their flaw. But they are hugely valuable, particularly in global agencies. With thousands of people working all over the world on hundreds of clients, it’s impossible to be synchronised. Having a hub that connects the dots isn’t valuable in the slightest, it’s invaluable.

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