Find Your Innovation And The Importance Of ‘Walking In Stupid’

Find Your Innovation And The Importance Of ‘Walking In Stupid’
SHARE
THIS



 

In this opinion piece, Dr Amantha Imber, the Founder of consultancy firm Inventium (pictured below) channels the great work of Wieden+Kennedy: forget what you know and why experts don’t always work…

Most of us would know the work of Wieden+Kennedy. For those who don’t, Wieden+Kennedy is one of the world’s top creative advertising agencies. One of the agency’s founders, Dan Wieden, was responsible for coming up with one of the most famous taglines on the planet: Nike’s ‘Just Do It’.

Amantha 1

In recent years you might have watched actor Isaiah Mustafa riding a white horse backwards, claiming he was ‘The man your man could smell like’ and thus reviving the Old Spice brand. Or perhaps you remember the agency’s 2008 Super Bowl ad for Coca-Cola that featured two huge inflatable cartoon characters chasing a giant inflatable bottle of Coca-Cola across New York City, with an inflatable Charlie Brown emerging victorious having caught the Coke bottle. Adweek named it best Super Bowl ad of the decade.

One of the factors that has been identified as critical for creating a culture where innovation thrives is ensuring that different points of view are encouraged and that ideas are regularly debated. And at Wieden+Kennedy, challenging the status quo and debating different views is par for the course.

6a00d8341c823e53ef0133f1ddcf76970b-400wi

One of the first things visitors to the London office see is a shop-window mannequin that has a blender for a head. The mannequin is carrying a briefcase that has the words ‘Walk in stupid every morning’ written on it. The message represents something that cofounder Dan Wieden believes in strongly: that is, that to find innovative ideas, people need to throw away all their assumptions and preconceived ideas.

Neil Christie, who heads up Wieden+Kennedy’s London office, says, “The mannequin is there so it’s the first thing you see when you walk in the door, to remind you that that’s what we’re here to do. If you listen to conventional wisdom or think that the thing you did last time is going to work again this time around, then you’re going to lose. You have to assume that conventional wisdom isn’t going to work or the category norms aren’t going to work.

“It’s not that we’re encouraging people to be stupid. It’s more that we’re encouraging people to recognise that they don’t necessarily know the answers and that the most experienced people won’t necessarily have the answers either. Sometimes you’re going to get a fresher answer from somebody looking at it naively, or from a different perspective than the so-called experts.”

One of the ways the tenet ‘Walk in stupid every morning’ is applied is in the way staff are allocated to clients. In most advertising agencies, people are allocated to clients where they have significant industry experience. For example, if an agency is pitching for a cosmetics account, they typically identify everyone who has worked on beauty brands before, and put them on the team. Clients naturally love this because it makes them feel as if they have ‘industry experts’ working on their account. But at Wieden+Kennedy this idea gets flipped on its head. People are deliberately assigned to accounts where they don’t have oodles of experience in the category.

The Honda account is one example of this strategy in practice. “There’s a reason why most automotive advertising looks the same,” explains Christie. And that reason is that people who have experience working on automotive advertising—whether that be as a creative in an advertising agency, a producer, or a director—are generally selected to work on the account because they have years, if not decades, of experience.

So rather than go down this path with Honda, the agency instead put together a team of people who were not automotive veterans. Indeed, some of the people on the team didn’t even particularly like cars. But the work the agency produced for Honda was unlike anything else the industry had ever seen.

The Honda Cog commercial is one of the most famous and effective pieces of work that the agency has ever produced. It was released in 2003 and featured a series of Honda Accord automotive parts colliding into each other like dominoes with the ad climaxing with a Honda Accord rolling off the trailer to the line ‘Isn’t it nice when things just work?’ It is one of the most awarded commercials in history.

Dr Amantha Imber is the Founder of Inventium (www.inventium.com.au), Australia’s leading innovation consultancy. Her latest book, The Innovation Formula (Wiley $29.95) (http://www.booktopia.com.au/the-innovation-formula-amantha-imber/prod9780730326663.html) is available now.

 

Please login with linkedin to comment

Latest News

Western Australia Gets Its First Influencer Marketing Agency
  • Marketing

Western Australia Gets Its First Influencer Marketing Agency

Western Australia’s first dedicated social influencer marketing agency will launch next week to service the state’s new and rapidly growing digital industry. The Influencer Agency – TIA – brings strategy, accountability and measurement to influencer marketing for WA brands using WA influencers. TIA will also assist influencers wanting to grow their brand by developing new […]

One-on-one With Marie Claire Editor Nicky Briger
  • Media

One-on-one With Marie Claire Editor Nicky Briger

Following the launch of the revamped marieclaire.com.au, editor Nicky Briger spoke to Magazine Networks about all it can offer readers. In September, Pacific Magazines unveiled an all-new digital experience for Marie Claire. Led by design thinking, the new look marieclaire.com.au was crafted to provide a better reader experience across all devices. It’s a testament to […]

Women’s Health Unveils Its New Premium Digital Experience
  • Media

Women’s Health Unveils Its New Premium Digital Experience

Pac Mags’ Women’s Health has unveiled an all-new premium digital experience. With a faster, cleaner, more intuitive and visually consistent brand experience across all devices, the new look is designed to optimise the user’s journey with less clutter, discoverable content and seamless integration for commercial partners. Will Everitt, head of product and technology said: “The digital evolution of […]

Digital Agency Inlight Secures Two Key Client Wins
  • Marketing
  • Technology

Digital Agency Inlight Secures Two Key Client Wins

Independent agency Inlight has announced it has won the digital account for Benetas, a not-for-profit aged care provider in Victoria. Following a competitive pitch process, Inlight was chosen to handle Benetas’ new website design, build and ongoing optimisation. Richard Barker, marketing manager at Benetas, said: “We wanted an agency that could be our true digital […]

AMI Awards 2017 Winners Revealed!
  • Marketing

AMI Awards 2017 Winners Revealed!

With almost 30 awards handed out, B&T predicts plenty of numb bottoms at last night's AMI Awards in Melbourne.

Clems Sydney CEO Andy Pontin Quits
  • Advertising

Clems Sydney CEO Andy Pontin Quits

Sure, B&T flashed the news of Andy Pontin quitting this morning. White lies aside, he's actually still got six months.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Adobe MAXes Most Creatives In A Room Record
  • Advertising
  • Media

Adobe MAXes Most Creatives In A Room Record

B&T's journo is reporting live from the annual Adobe Summit in Vegas. Although, "reporting" is somewhat of a stretch.

Opinion

by David Hovenden

David Hovenden
Digital Women’s Network & The Australian College Of Marketing Unveil Latest Short Courses
  • Marketing

Digital Women’s Network & The Australian College Of Marketing Unveil Latest Short Courses

The Australian College of Marketing is collaborating with the Digital Women’s Network to bring new short courses aimed to provide the latest skills across all aspects of the Digital landscape, kicking off in Melbourne and Sydney in 2018. Course content will focus around various topics related to the digital marketing landscape. All courses will run […]

Man working at office desk, looking at computer and scratching head
  • Technology

Where Are Digital & Tech Skills & Salaries Headed?

The rapid pace of technological change in the digital sector is seeing demand for those with the right skill sets outstrip availability, both locally and globally. The individuals who have kept their skills up to date are being well-rewarded financially. Now, Digital + Technology Collective’s expanded annual Skills and Salary Survey will put some numbers and context […]

Disney & ESPN Unify Sales & Partnerships Teams
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

Disney & ESPN Unify Sales & Partnerships Teams

Disney and ESPN have formed an even closer bond, announcing a new alignment of the two properties through their media sales and partnerships teams. Instead of entering through three doors, Disney ESPN Media Sales & Partnerships will give media buyers and marketers a refined, singular point of entry for Disney, ESPN Digital and Maker. Nik […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Sydney Start-up Muzaara Partners With Commission Factory To Turbocharge Digital Ad Spends
  • Advertising
  • Marketing

Sydney Start-up Muzaara Partners With Commission Factory To Turbocharge Digital Ad Spends

Sydney-based adtech start-up Muzaara has announced a new strategic partnership with performance marketing platform Commission Factory. Together, Muzaara and Commision Factory are providing SMEs with a secret weapon to skyrocket their online brand visibility and effectively manage and maximise their online advertising campaigns. This partnership will allow both online marketing companies and their impressive roster […]

Kellogg’s Creates AR Halloween Trick Or Treat Experience Via Shazam & Orchard
  • Campaigns
  • Marketing
  • Technology

Kellogg’s Creates AR Halloween Trick Or Treat Experience Via Shazam & Orchard

Breakfast cereal manufacturer Kellogg’s has joined forces with Shazam and digital agency Orchard to deliver a first-of-its-kind augmented reality (AR) Halloween Trick or Treat experience for families. The campaign, which leverages Shazam’s visual recognition platform and recently-launched AR platform, sees Kellogg’s pilot the replacement of physical gifts in cereal packs with a digital experience that […]

Kraft Heinz Appoints Cummins&Partners As New Creative Agency
  • Advertising

Kraft Heinz Appoints Cummins&Partners As New Creative Agency

Kraft Heinz today confirmed the appointment of Cummins&Partners as its new Creative agency after an extensive pitch process. They will be responsible for brand strategy and integrated creative across the expanding Kraft Heinz portfolio including Kraft, Heinz and Golden Circle. A Kraft Heinz spokesperson said: “After an exhaustive search involving a competitive pitch, we have made […]

Patrick Delany (CEO, Fox Sports), Hugh Marks (CEO, Nine Entertainment Co), Miranda Devine (Columnist, News Corp), Michael Miller (Executive Chairman, News Corp Australasia), Grant Blackley (CEO & Managing Director, Southern Cross Austereo) at Radio Alive 2017
  • Media

Media Bosses Weigh In On Ten-CBS Deal

Do you enjoy articles featuring industry big-wigs? Well, it doesn't come much bigger and wiggier than this, we say.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Kantar TNS’ Ali Dexter Joins T Garage As Director Of Insights & Strategy
  • Marketing

Kantar TNS’ Ali Dexter Joins T Garage As Director Of Insights & Strategy

Melbourne-based market research consulting agency T Garage has announced the appointment of Ali Dexter as its director of insights and strategy. Dexter joins T Garage from Kantar TNS, where she was the director of its Qualitative division. Prior to that, Dexter held a number of senior roles at Kantar TNS in the US and Vietnam.  “After […]

XXXX on Tuesday, March 21, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Jeff Bottari/AP Images for Adobe)
  • Advertising

Adobe Releases Advertising Cloud App

Not one, but two Adobe announcements. The tech elves have been busy this week, not that we're inferring Adobe is Santa.