GroupM Australia has launched a collaborative innovation program that partners clients with dynamic start-ups and bright young talent from within the media investment group to solve clients’ most pressing business problems.
Dubbed mSpark, the program is an initiative of GroupM’s NCo committee, which consists of 15 of the brightest employees aged under 30 from across all of the agency network’s companies.
Launching initially as a six-week pilot program, the aim of mSpark is to bring new perspectives to clients’ business problems.
GroupM clients, including Nespresso, KFC, Danone and Foxtel, will be nominating a problem to be tackled by a crack team consisting of the best young talent from their agency, their marketing team and local start-ups.
GroupM has partnered with Vibewire, a Sydney-based incubator and co-working space led by young people, to share space in its co-working hub and connect with its members.
Participating start-ups include a B2C fashion marketplace, a crowd-sourced journalism platform, a cloud-based personal locker system and a peer-to-peer event network.
Over six full days in six weeks, the mSpark team will go through a full sprint to break down the client problem, develop hypotheses, validate them in the real world and prototype their solution.
They’re free of the traditional agency model, marketing process or titles and tasked with finding the ‘spark’ to a solution.
NCo chair and Mindshare innovation director Jack Smyth, who was the driving force behind the launch of mSpark, said: “We designed mSpark to give clients the skills and perspective to look for new solutions in every single brief.
“Where most agencies treat innovation as a black box or act as an intermediary between clients and start-ups, I wanted to set an example with a transparent, collaborative relationship where that agile approach could feed into every brief after the sprint finished.
“It’s about working with clients to explore what’s possible.”
Mark Lollback, CEO of GroupM Australia and New Zealand, said mSpark is a great example of what happens when the group hands the reins to the future leaders of the business.
“I believe it will prove to be an incredibly valuable service for our clients,” he said.
“It will allow them to bring that start-up mentality and perspective back into their marketing team and to approach problems in an entirely new way.”
Michael Ebert, environment specialist at Nespresso for Australia and the Oceania region, said it was great to have a team of enthusiastic and creative people putting their energy into coming up with new solutions for the brand business.
“We look forward to seeing what the team can come up with to keep the momentum going,” he said.
GroupM plans to extend the mSpark network to Melbourne, Auckland and Asia.