'Technology... is a queer thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other.' C.P. Snow, New York Times, 1971.
If you run an agency it's a good guess you're deeply engaged in a process of change. You're probably hiring new people, with new skills. Trying to work out what kinds of new processes you must adopt to work more iteratively, more collaboratively and more leanly. It's likely you're trying to reframe some of the core beliefs around how you work and why you work that way - questioning where creativity comes from, what an idea is, where the agency ends and the crowd begins. And it's almost guaranteed that you're looking at how you can dramatically increase the speed at which you create what you create.
This is all daunting, complex and incredibly hard. In short, the task is akin to installing a completely new operating system for the agency. But unlike installing a new OS on a PC, where you can (and you have to) stop work while the new software loads and installs, in an agency there's no such luxury. It's like changing the engines on an airliner while it's airborne.
If your agency knows exactly how it's going to crack this, you're very fortunate. If it doesn't, what exactly is your plan? One thing that's abundantly clear is that fortune favours the fast. To quote Steve Jobs, 'innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower'. Unless you're a leader, you will be a follower. It's crucial that you don't dwell too long on pulling together a master strategy.Download the full articleBen Malbon is director of strategy at Google's Creative Lab