Innovation Stories 2014, write up (pt.1)

Last week saw the second instalment of Innovation Stories take place at DigitasLBi in London. A solid line up speakers meant the room was full of industry heads hungry for a dose of inspiration.

Nadya Powell (@NadsBads), co-founder of Innovation Social and MD of MRY kicked-off with an introduction to what Innovation Social is all about – a support group for people who want to drive disruption.


The first speaker of the event was Glyn Briton (@Glyndot), Managing Partner of Albion, an agency built with innovation ingrained into its DNA. A great example of the unique way in which they work is Skype, which they took from a unknown beta to a household name. It took more than 4 years to become a mainstream communication tool and begin to disrupt the industry. Changing peoples behaviours; in this case getting them to talk into a laptop, takes commitment, focus and a lot of hard work. Glyn talked about the changes that Albion have made to maximise innovation. Experimentation is the first step on the road to real change, but following through on those experiments is often where our industry falls down. Albion have consciously kept this stage at the core of their organisation, and it’s this dedication that leads to true innovation for the clients they work with. 


Next up was our very own Daniele Fiandaca, Head of Innovation at Cheil and Creative Social co-founder. Having just returned from Cannes, he discussed one of the newest categories at the awards, the Innovation Lions. Cheil were shortlisted for the Samsung NX Rover project, Daniele pitched the project to the jury, which was mixture of VC’s and ad industry heavyweights. When they asked him “What breakthrough technology made this happen?”, it was apparent that they weren’t going to win. The project he was pitching to them didn’t contain one stand out piece of tech, instead it was a combination of existing technologies brought together in a new way. As an industry we still haven’t defined what innovation really means, for many it refers to the latest technological advancement. However something doesn’t have to be new to innovative. Daniele believes that innovation in our industry is rooted in finding better ways to solve communication problems, and it is this that should be celebrated by the Innovation Lions. If the emphasis is going to continue to be tech focused, maybe the award should be renamed the Technology Lions?


Next on stage was Lorenzo Wood (@lorenzowood), Chief Innovation Officer at DigitasLBi talking about DIG, an innovation program they created with AstraZeneca to push the healthcare industry forward. Bringing together two very different industries allows DIG to pull from a broad range of skills and create real products and services that are used by healthcare professionals globally. Lorenzo shared some of the learnings that had come out of the experience of working in this way. Casting carefully is essential, this type of unique working environment does not suit everyone, the ideal candidates should be naturally curious and thrive from knowing what everyone around them is doing. Aiming to allow healthcare professionals to work, connect and learn more efficiently, DIG puts a huge about of focus on really understanding the problem before trying to solve it. He urged us to spend more time on this stage in our creative processes. It’s easy to jump straight into the ideas, and often get hooked on one early. Taking time to really understand the problem you’re trying to solve will ultimately lead to better, more innovative solutions.


Debbi Evans (@SheBla) talked us through the journey she’s been on with her start-up Libertine. Debbie was frustrated with the dull and formulaic woman’s media that was on offer, almost entirely made up of fashion and beauty content. She decided to do something about it, Libertine was born, a magazine for interested women. Print was risky and the overheads were big, but it filled the biggest gap and was perfect vehicle to start building an audience. Over the last year Debbie has developed the brand, using the power of glamour aesthetics to pull audiences in. She readily admits she’s still experimenting, moving more towards an online presence. It’s clear that spotting a gap and having the motivation to create something to fill it is paying off with Libertine.


Big thanks to our partners
TDA Digital

Next Event:

Mini Cannes 2014
Thursday 17th July 17.00 to 20.00
DigitasLBi, E1 6RU
Eventbrite - Innovation Stories 2014

Mini Cannes – a taste of the festival right here in London. The session will bring  talks from the Cannes Lions stage back to London, we get a view from the jurors, what inspired us along with a thought provoking review of key Cannes trends from a selection of key players in the industry.

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