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Intelligence Briefs

Covid-19: to agile in-housing and beyond

Industry Contributor

Will Lavender, Founder
CX Lavender

22 March 2020 1min read

Whatever we’re learning, I’m certain it’s pushing us forward, faster, into better collaboration—and we won’t be going back.

Everyone’s got their theory, mine is that teams of subject matter experts—be they clients or agents—will work together to create everything.

And, whatever’s going to happen to our creative industry in the future will accelerate, thanks to all that the world is throwing at us right now.

We now have 18–months’ working in agile creation under our belts; where subject matter experts—project, strategy, design, UX, story, tech, data people—are working in-house with client specialists to solve business problems. What started as a small pop-up agile trial has become cultural and is now an operating norm.

My Takeout

Two–weeks into COVID-19 working from home, 'Webex' manners are improving, the holiday feeling’s worn off, trust is growing and productivity is OK. Whatever is going on, better, faster collaboration is the likely outcome. 

First, agile creation is not an in-house agency.

In the past, the goal ‘climb that hill’ cascaded through management layers with deepening method and direction until it got down to the ‘doers’—probably in different silos.

With agile creation, ‘climb that hill’ goes straight down to the agile team who, with the right subject matter experts, ideate and execute the solution for omni-channel customer connection. And, because the agile teams are closer to the customer, it has a greater chance of being right for the customer.

Over time, the teams have broadened to include product, operations, systems, and data folk, so the teams’ abilities to complete complex tasks have increased—and with that, their confidence too. Things are not only more efficient, they’re more enjoyable.

Returning teams love the can-do-ness of agile creation. Dare I say it? Some find the agency less fun and fulfilling than onsite agile creation up at the client’s place.

Already, of course, techies tell me how they’ve been doing this for decades, and in a way, I feel that we have too—at CX Lavender—because we’ve always ideated with techs, creatives, strategists etc. But, what’s different now, is that mixed skills, from different workplaces, are working without agendas, at the clients’ offices. It’s a bit like a zoo, where visitors, keepers, lions and camels sort stuff out and get shit done.

It’s funny to think that the agency environment is an older way of working. The agency has always been the best way to solve a problem creatively. I’m not saying that the agency way is over, it’s just that it needs to rapidly evolve. Our zest will always be creativity, we simply need to work in an agile way. Each area of expertise must understand the broader landscape and contribute with a broader offering. It’s a start-up mentality. And I make no mistake, this is very different to a traditional agency place, where roles and contribution are often really quite narrow.

Let’s go. What do you think?

Industry Contributor

Will Lavender, Founder
CX Lavender

Will spent his first 10 years in advertising at London’s legendary Lowe Group. He came to Sydney in 1993 and set up Mojo Direct and was a founding partner at M&C Saatchi. In 1997, Will opened CX Lavender’s doors with a people first vision. ‘The customer is our true north’ remains the inspiration for CX Lavender’s 80-strong team.

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At Nestle early in my career as a brand manager during the last recession, the company’s philosophy was to increase spending through the downturn, talk to consumers and drive brand awareness. Throughout this period Nestle kept advertising and used the increase in spend to come out the other side even stronger.           

So where does this leave us today, and what should advertisers be thinking in the midst of such a difficult situation?

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