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Ad agencies aren’t the only ones with ideas

July 23, 2005

Business Week has a brilliant article on innovation inside organizations and how this is not only shaking organizational structures up, but it’s also leading to massive step change in the products they create for consumers.

There used to be a world of un-differentiated products, where advertising was the only thing you could do to be different. This article suggests that companies today are really innovating and we are seeing more differentiation than ever before.

So instead of advertising agencies developing faux ideas that replace the lack of real ones inside companies, increasingly their new role is to elegantly translate the innovation into compelling communication.

Think Apple’s iPod or Honda’s diesel engines.

This power shift has very important consequences for the relationship between agencies and their clients. Do agencies just sit back and translate the ideas given to them by clients, or do they role up their sleeves and get involved in the idea creation process? If so, they will need to invest in new skill sets as this will require a combination of business strategy, ideation and broad-based design skills

The Business Week article mentions: Cirque Du Soleil, Apple, Target, Whole Foods, Birkenstock Las Vegas, Target, GE, P&G and Jet Blue as examples of creative innovators.

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