Post of the Month - September 2015 - Nominations


It's early October which means it's time again to open nominations for Post of the Month. If you've read something particularly good over the past month you can nominate it direct or in the comments below. As usual, I have a short starting list, but please add to these with your own nominations and I'll put the shortlist up for a vote. So my starting three are:

Why Fandoms Make a Difference by Matt Locke

The Organisation is Broken by Clay Parker Jones

A Window into the Future of the Web from Tom Goodwin

Do nominate your own favourites.

Co-Location and Concurrent Working in Agencies

I've just completed a major piece of research recently about the future of agencies - an update on the first report I authored on the subject back in 2012. It's quite amazing the amount of change that seems to have happened in the past few years. Many have talked about the inertia of agencies, and perhaps this is true of some, but whilst there remain plenty of challenges there's no doubt that the focus on customer experience is now driving plenty of change in operating models, the competitive landscape and the way in which agencies are engaging with clients.

One of the areas of change that was most interesting to me was the burgeoning practice of co-located and concurrent working. Some agencies, particularly those that are working beyond comms in broader-based transformation, capability, experience or service design work are usurping the traditional 'waterfall' hand-off processes that have become embedded ways of working, and creating smaller teams of cross-functional specialists that might include design/creative, UX, planning and maybe even the client.

This reminded me of the process that Dave King of The Royals described in his Firestarters Melbourne talk, based on the Google Ventures 5-day sprint methodology. This way of working involved concurrent working over a short sprint and was designed to ensure a more joined up approach between strategy and creative and in the discovery of insights and ideas. Dave talked about how the process leads to fertile discussions and ideas, and naturally puts need at the heart of every challenge. It doesn't feel like writing a brief, he said, it's more like decoding an opportunity. 


The agency people I interviewed for the research described some advantages of this kind of concurrent working - notably speed of delivery, less reliance on a 'big reveal' and less danger of misalignment, less duplication, the chance to show quick wins and create a sense of momentum, and increased client ownership of solutions.  

At the same time, the practice of agency staffers working alongside client staff in co-located teams seems to be becoming more prevalent. There are some interesting challenges around culture here (notably with staff working in unfamiliar or different environments and organisational cultures) but it seems that many agencies have already taken steps to manage this. 

But what's fascinating I think, is that it seems as though some of real fundamentals of the way in which agencies are working with clients really are changing. You can read the full report by downloading it here.

The Future of Agencies


I've been working on a major new piece of Econsultancy research over the past couple of months, the output of which is a report that I've written on The Future of Agencies. As well as a quant survey, I interviewed a broad range of senior agency-side practitioners around the world to gain a perspective on how agency models were shifting, and their view on the where things are going.

The results were pretty compelling. When I last did a similar piece of research back in 2012, many agency people I interviewed then were talking about change but there was little evidence that the fundamentals were actually evolving. This time felt very different. There was evidence of major shifts underway in the competitive landscape, operating models, development of capability, client engagements and working processes. It was truly fascinating. I'll be picking out a few of the themes to talk about further here but you can access the full report via Econsultancy if you're a member there or if not via the Adobe Partners (who sponsored the research) site. I'll also be doing the second and third (the first was a few weeks back) in a series of webinars on the findings, the next one of which is on Thurs 24th. You can register for that here. Feedback on the findings, as always, is welcome.

Post Of The Month - August 2015 - The Vote

Thanks for the nominations. So our vote this month is between:

Energy Beats Talent by Nils Leonard

Advertisers Want Your Attention by Faris Yakob

You Can't Fix Services With Engagement by Russell Davies

3D Experiences by Gareth Kay

Ways to Think About Cars by Ben Evans

Projects and Companies from Sam Altman

And you can vote below: