DDB Group New Zealand launches in house innovation lab as part of new agency model

shaper.jpgIn a break from established agency models, DDB Group New Zealand has launched an in house innovation lab, with a brief to solve real human problems and create new revenue streams.
 
Called °shaper, the lab is believed to be a first for advertising agencies in this country. DDB intends to own and monetise any ideas developed in the lab, taking them from conception right through to finished product.
DDB's chief operating officer Chris Riley says they realised that the agency's strategic and creative skills could be applied to more than advertising and in doing so, had the potential to deliver entirely new revenue streams to the company and new products for consumers to use.
 
Says Riley: "This is ground-breaking territory for a New Zealand agency and we believe it will become an agency business model for the future."

Staff have already been invited to pitch ideas that 'solve real human problems' through the creation of technology platforms or utilities and Riley says they have seen a number of good, realisable ideas.
 
Says Riley: "We are committing significant agency time, resources and funds into °shaper to help get the best ideas developed, including putting our own money behind it."

The agency intends working with chosen partners and potentially clients to bring ideas to life in what will be a shared ownership and revenue model. It hopes eventually to create new revenue streams, direct from consumers and businesses, around products that go to market.
 
Says Riley: "Ideally we're likely to use our in house capabilities to develop at least one of the ideas initially, as well as work with Callaghan Innovation to take the right idea further."

Callaghan Innovation stakeholder Toby Littin has been invited to sit on the assessment panel and Riley believes Toby's knowledge and connections with how incubator ideas get to market will help provide a framework for turning the ideas into marketable products and services more quickly.

Says Riley: "The programme will allow us to test the opportunity to develop IP and monetise this throughout the network. If the idea is good enough, we'll have no hesitation in committing a percentage of the agency's revenue into R&D, as required to get a Government grant."
 
Says Littin: "I take my hat off to the agency and the people behind this lab. The first step in innovation is having somewhere to take your idea, and DDB is making this happen. We're excited that °shaper may enable high value manufactured goods and services (HVMS) businesses to evolve from within the DDB team."
 
Successful applicants will be gifted a day per week to work on making the idea a reality and will ultimately share in the financial upside from any successful initiative.
 
Says Haydn Kerr, DDB's creative director digital: "We recognise that creative is not a department here and a wide range of people from different roles within the group are excited to get on board.
 
"We're also not asking people to save the world, although that would be nice. Some human problems are small and annoying, but wouldn't it be great if we could find a way to make them go away too."
 
In Australia, DDB has run three °shaper sessions to date, resulting in two completed prototypes and one in development. The first is a wearable tech solution within the active lifestyle segment, the second a platform solution toward public safety, and the third in development is aimed at cyber bullying.
 
Martin O'Halloran DDB Australia and New Zealand's chairman says °shaper recognises that the communications business is a creative one, but also one that increasingly relies on innovation to develop business solutions. 

Says O'Halloran: "We want our staff, and our clients, to see how committed we are to innovation now and in the future. After all, ideas are great. But making things is better."

5 Comments

Considering said:

Their recent performance in the world of advertising it is probably not a bad idea for DDB to diversify into other areas.

oooohhhhhh said:

here's a handy link for everyone at DDB after that previous comment:
https://www.google.co.nz/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=burn+hospital+auckland

starterupper said:

It will be interesting to see if any of the usual trials and tribulations of a tech start up apply to these "projects". As any start up founder can attest to, ownership and passion for growing a high growth venture is not a part time one day a week job.
If they are really serious about the ideas then an intense accelerator approach with a dedicated team and seed funding is a more likely model.
Good luck though! I'm definitely looking forward to seeing if creatives can actually focus on something other than awards and the next cool campaign brief ;-)

The truth said:

With the Fat Cats getting fatter, how are they going to fit into their fancy-pants cars down in the basement? Time to sell the Audis boys and invest in some people movers.

People movers? said:

Or furniture movers?

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