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The Agency
of the Future
How can agencies begin the
transformation journey
they require?
5 Guiding principles.
February, 2019
You
Broad, motherhood statements that
‘agencies must change or die’, are not
helpful, nor needed.
After almost 100 interviews with agency leaders globally
and 20+ interviews with clients over three continents, we
wanted to share our insight about how agencies can
transform into a future vision of themselves. At the end
of 2018, we released two initial sections of this white
paper. Now, we’d like to share the remaining thinking.
This is not a white paper which will provide the definite
answer for which model to follow. Simply, because there
is no one answer. It will however show a path and several
tools of how to get there from what we saw as the
common needs of agencies across our investigations.
Drop us a line at hello@alonsopoli.com to keep in touch.
11%
1 Billion
The level of mistrust between advertisers
and their media agencies increased to 40%
in 2018, from 29% in 2016.*
P&G cut $1 Billion USD from ad and
production spend and still sees organic
growth of up to 6% in last 4 years.**
*ID Comms, 2018, **AdAge, 2018
know
this
The Agency of the Future challenge needs to be
looked at via the broader mega-trend of societal and
business transformation being driven by exponential
disruption which technological change brings.
Framing the challenge any differently will
sub-optimise any strategic moves made.
Our wretched species is so made that those who walk on
the well-trodden path always throw stones at those who
are showing a new road.
Thoughts on starting the journey correctly.
Your Agency of the Future
Without the correct starting point, framing the
challenge imposed by the question of what should
be the Agency of the Future, is meaningless.
Too much of the debate and discussion we have observed on this
topic, by quite senior people in the advertising industry, is binary.
These are discussions of more/less digital, more/less data, more/less
social, production, in-housing, outsourcing, AI, consulting etc., etc.
Most limiting, is that the majority of the discussion is based on a
narrow view of how the world has changed, how the world is
changing and what the agency’s personal vision for the future is.
Some agencies seem to be able to create future visions for their
client’s brands, but, not for themselves.
It is important that an agency’s view of the future and what it means
is deeply imbedded in reality and shared by the leaders and change
agents in the agency. It needs to be a future which is visceral, honest,
based on well-considered evidence, and one agencies and clients are
willing to move towards. There also needs to be a recognition that
the future is not a definitive point in time to be reached.
There will be different futures for different agencies. The reality that
most traditional and large agencies are coming from a similar
starting point, tends to obscure this fact.
The Agency of the Future challenge needs to be looked at via the
broader mega-trend of societal and business transformation being
driven by the pace, density and unpredictability that technological
change brings. Framing the challenge any differently will
sub-optimise any strategic moves made.
A strategic direction, based on a subset view of the actual challenge,
will mean any direction taken will become exponentially more
irrelevant over time.
Alonso//Poli
- Voltaire
Signposts to enable the best future outcomes
5 Guiding Principles
Be careful of ‘wisdom’ such as “we just need to get back to what we
do best, create” or “it is really a data and influence game on social we
need to play” or, “we need to own customers again through knowing
their journeys”, and least of all, “the world will always need stories
and storytellers, that is what we do”. Such do-it-yourself wisdom,
which doesn’t have transformation at the heart, is at best
self-serving, at worst fatal in an industry which is beset by complex
change.
We see the 5 Guiding Principles in this document as fundamental
ingredients for any Agency of the Future transformation. Why
these? In our research, we saw many agencies simply ‘jumping in
the deep-end’ with their transformation approach - with limited
thinking. Agencies were implementing new, marginal technologies;
up-turning structures; hiring in avant-garde job titles and firing
‘legacy’ talent. These moves were largely without a strong sense of
why or where the agency was going, let alone a strong plan of how
to implement change. What was also missing was any deep
thinking of how culture change (crucial for sustainability) would
occur.
This white paper talks to these gaps and the discussion looks to
highlight the 5 principles which should be considered on any journey
to create your Agency of the Future and overcome the pitfalls above.
Abundant thinking. Immune responses
How can technology bring abundant growth? How do you
harness resistance against the change new growth
brings?
03
Frame the problem correctly
Do the analysis. Understand future scenarios and what
drives change. Don’t limit thinking from the beginning.
01
It is complex. Think Core & Edge
Explore many solutions. Build a roadmap with solutions
that disrupt (Edge) & those which enable evolution (Core).
02
Don’t go it alone
Collaboration and internal and external ecosystems are
core aspects of successful change. Create yours.
04
Make change human centric, dynamic
You are probably going to have to change, a lot, then
change again. Iterate, learn & adapt with your people.
05
Alonso//Poli
The real impact of technology is not the disruption - we
have been dealing with that for centuries. It is the pace,
density and unpredictability that disruption brings.
Salim Ismail, co-author, “The Exponential Organisation” &
Founding Executive Director, The Singularity University
Start here. How
is your agency
evolving in the
competitive
landscape?
To get the thinking juices flowing,
challenge yourself to ask “Where is my
agency in relation to the various
models which are evolving?”
Each model has a hypothesis of
agency-landscape change which can
inform thinking further down the
track. An insight from this analysis, is
that agency types are evolving in
multiple streams. We are not seeing a
race by scaled agencies to regress
back to older models or new models
trying to mimic traditional agencies at
scale. Where does you agency stand
now?
TRADITIONAL AGENCY MODELS
Alonso//Poli, Agency Competitive Landscape Analysis,, December 2018
EMERGING AGENCY MODELS
Alonso//Poli
*
Changing positively through acquisition
*
The problem space
If an agency does not properly define its current reality,
nor have a solid understanding of the important
realities which will impact its future, its ability to
understand ‘the problem to solve’ is diminished to
virtually zero.
When do you know that you are really getting under
the skin of knowing your reality? Honestly, when you
and other people start feeling uncomfortable with the
questions being asked, and the evidence being shown.
The definition of the problem space needs to be
visceral; felt emotionally and known intellectually.
Be concerned if leaders in your agency are saying any of
the following about understanding the problem space.
“It is ok. I know what we need. We just need to implement x.”
“There is no problem with us, its because of <insert client /
technology / competitor / GAAFA / etc.”
“Our people are just not good enough, we need new people.”*
“This is all noise. I have seen this before. This will pass.”
*
Some leaders don’t realise the irony inherent in this statement until too late.
Be encouraged if leaders in your agency are saying any of
the following about understanding the problem space.
“Who can we work with to better understand what’s
happening and how we could change?”
“Let’s go and really speak to our clients, what do they need
moving forward?”
“Let’s deeply understand the scenarios which will impact us.”
01
How can an
agency better
understand its
problem space?
There are various approaches to really
understand and define the problem
space an agency finds itself in. Many
are not revolutionary, the right one for
an agency depends on many factors
(largely cultural and internal). When
assessing which methodology is best
for your agency make sure the
following elements are present.
Ensure the methodology:
1. Creates a visceral
understanding of reality
2. Provides clarity with potential
options for change
3. Has the power to engage and
align the agency
Alonso//Poli
Creates a visceral
understanding of reality
Has the power
to engage and
align the agency
Provides clarity
with potential
options for change
Ensures a deeply felt
need for change is
created which will be
implemented
Reality
Ignites people to
implement change as
it is clear and agreed
Motivation
Gives a clear way forward
based on sound
knowledge of the
situation and scenarios
Direction
The
right
model
Approaches to defining a
problem space vary. The
following, if used
correctly, hit the three
key points above
Methodologies
Duval Union Consulting &
Alonso//Poli
Executive Journey
Exo Lever
Exo Sprint
The Corporate StartUp
Innovation Thesis
Alonso//Poli
How agencies
can understand
relevant change
Within the multiple streams of
change facing agencies, which are
most relevant when defining the
problem space?
The 7 Metaphors©
of change is a
methodology to group the multiplicity
of different trends into more
digestible and focused areas.
More than one of the 7 Metaphors
may be relevant to an agency’s reality.
Each requires interrogation and deep
understanding. Each relevant
metaphor then forms the launchpad
for a strategic narrative to be built and
solutions to be imagined.
The Gatekeeper
Describes the impact of changes in
opinion making, leadership and new
players which dominate attention
Drivers of change:
The new gatekeepers,
Recommendations, Good is Good
Enough, Ambassadorship
The Traveller
Describes the changing relationship
between people, their devices and
the world
Drivers of change:
Localisation, Utility, Empowered Self,
Instant Gratification, New ways of
working, Contextual Awareness
The Frog
Describes the forces which change
the value chain within industries and
sectors
Drivers of change:
Bypassing, virtualisation,
fragmentation
The Cyborg
Describes the changing relationship
between people and technology
Drivers of change:
Internet of Things, The Quantified
Self, Artificial Intelligence, Data
The Package
Describes the impact of bundling,
unbundling and re-bundling in the
digital world
Drivers of change:
APPification, Long Tail, Personalised,
Experience, Speed, Price,
(Self)-service, Scalability, Monolithic
vs. atomic
The Participant
Describes the changing relationship
between people, organisations and
brands
Drivers of change:
Community, Collaboration, Sharing
Economy, The power of the cord
The Glass House
Describes the changing relationship
between the organisation and the
outside world
Drivers of change:
Transparency, accountability,
proximity, responsiveness,
bi-directionality, humanization,
authenticity
©Duval Union Consulting (in partnerships with Alonso//Poli)
Metaphors
The
7
Core & Edge
This is a story about battleships and speedboats. No
organisation can change all the things it wants to at
the same time - nor should it. The disruption and
dislocation this would cause would likely destroy the
business. Of course, if the situation is absolutely dire,
then drastic measures may well be the only option.
Duel speed transformation is a proven way to effect
transformational change. Keep the core of the agency
stable with lower impact change (so the Battleship can
provide stability) and disrupt with highly innovative
initiatives at the edge (send idea speedboats out to
quickly test/learn/scale new business
models/markets/customers/technologies etc.)
What characterises a Core Initiative ?
● Aligned to agreed upon problem space
● Improves the agency’s primary business model
● Relatively quick to implement
● Fall into more traditional ‘business improvement /
enhancement’ initiatives
● Lower risk of failure
● Not necessarily technology focused
● Typically referred to as Horizon 1 projects. See next
What characterises a Edge Initiative ?
● Aligned to agreed upon problem space
● Develops a new business model into existing or new markets
● Higher risk of failure
● Takes iterative/design thinking/agile approaches
● Medium/long term, timeframes to implement and see ROI
● Typically applies technology first thinking
● Typically referred to as Horizon 2 or 3 projects. See next
02
Use ‘Horizon
Planning’ to
map Core vs
Edge initiatives
Capturing the initiatives so that the
business gets a sense of their impact
and timeframes is important. Horizon
planning is one way of achieving this
and give a sense of drastic the
imagined changes will be for the
agency.
Horizons speak both to how the
initiatives impact the business, and
the likely time frame being looked at
to implement the initiatives, adding at
least 12 months at each Horizon step is
not an unrealistic first assumption on
timing.
● Core : Horizon 1 / 2 initiative
● Edge: Horizon 2 / 3 initiatives
Alonso//Poli
Horizon 1 solutions
Horizon 2 solutions
Horizon 3 solutions
Products / Services / Technology / Business Models
Markets
Source: Adapted from McKinsey ‘Horizons’ Thinking
Abundance & Immunity
Two concepts, at first seemingly unrelated, have been a
strong and recent part of the thinking when
organisations are looking at creating their version of the
future.
Abundance is about examining your agency and
reframing the way you look at its pieces to see
abundance, where once you saw liability or
fragmentation. Capitalising on abundance in your
agency is created primarily by examining how, through
the application of technology, your agency can flourish.
Don’t just think about the ‘standard’ agency technologies
either - what about innovation, culture, learning, talent
management and productivity technologies? See next.
Immunity responses are seen in all types of organisms, including
organisations and agencies when stressed by change. People are
resistant to change and exhibit various behaviours in response to
it - many of these behaviours are not constructive. If not
harnessed, they can derail any change initiative or process.
Developing and engaging a ‘change agent’ strategy (see section 5)
is a powerful way to work with immune responses to aid change.
A story to inspire abundant thinking..
In 1990, delivering letters accounted for 70% of the France Post service turnover;
in 2020 it will be less than 20%. The company is looking for new ways to make a
profit from its 73,000 postal workers. Instead of seeing them as a cost, it
imagined what forms of abundance this network could bring. So, they
launched a new service called “Watch Over My Parents” which allows
customers to pay for postal workers to check on their elderly relatives. Since its
launch in 2017, more than 6,000 customers are paying approximately 250 Euros
a year for the service. The ‘abundant’ idea was enabled through technology. All
communication is via a custom app which offers direct communication
between the elderly person, their family and the postal worker, it tracks and
manages the entire service.
03
What types of
technologies
could agencies
consider?
Often, when agencies think about the
introduction or use of technology, it is
largely a discussion on enhancing
existing business models (ie.
programmatic platforms, social media
tools etc) or applying technology to
functions and processes once done
without technology (ie. media plan
development and management).
Transforming your agency will mean
needing to look a lot more broadly at
the role technology can and should
play. The diagram to the right helps to
capture both tried-and-tested and
newer technologies to consider
outside of the ‘default’ technologies
often cited first.
Alonso//Poli
Periodic Table for ‘Agency of the Future’ Technologies
Better together
Undertaking the task of agency transformation is best
done in partnership. Not only in partnership with
clients, but, with other key stakeholders relevant to
bringing your specific Agency of the Future vision to
fruition. Some things to keep in mind:
● Depending on what that vision is, the
partnerships will vary
● Don’t limit your thinking regarding which
partnerships to include
● The design process you choose should have
partnership thinking baked into its process via the
identification and inclusion of key ‘users’
● Partners will play one or more roles - support,
advise, beta-test initiatives, investment, etc.
Clients
TechnologyConsultants
Sister
Agencies
Internal
Teams
Your Agency
04
Being human
Arguably, the most important aspect of any agency
transformation process is people. The reasons for this
are broad, deep and largely self-evident.
Without involving the right people in the business,
iimagining , implementing and sustaining any
change initiatives will have failure baked in from the
outset. What you may see, by railroading change
through your agency, are perhaps a one or two year
financial uptick, but, a deep loss of faith, motivation
and talent which will undermine sustainability and
further change down the track. We’ve seen this too
often.
Engaging team members can take many forms. Baked into
solid design thinking is the continual feedback and involvement
of team members. Any sound design process will facilitate
teams being involved through all initiatives. Through this
involvement, a culture of agility and learning will also be built.
There are many approaches to engendering team involvement
as part of an agency transformation process, some of these are
outlined below with tools to support.
Change
Leads
Change
Teams
Change
Agents
Change
Partners
● CDO
● Chief Innovation
Officer
● Agile teams
● MVP teams
● Champions
across agency
● HR Department
● Consulting
Partners
Change
systems /
approaches /
tools to support
teams &
individuals
1. Human centered design principles and approaches
2. Transformational Readiness Audits across agency. See next
3. Digital training and upskilling
4. Implementation of communication processes and channels (road shows,
lunch & learn sessions, innovation excursions etc.)
05
How ready is
your agency to
change?
Transformational readiness factors in
people, operations, the context of the
business and the crucial element of
leadership. The example to the right,
is an extract from a more
comprehensive Alonso//Poli audit
framework.
These audits are not just about ticking
boxes and providing scores. They
perform the helpful task of beginning
and aligning the internal dialogue on
the need and direction of the
transformation required. It helps you
understand, ‘Where to start?’
Used properly, they break down walls,
bring disparate mindsets together,
can offer tracking on progress when
repeated over time and begin
creating shared language for change. Alonso//Poli
The degree to which the real 'Problem Space' is known, considered, and
included in the agency change process.
Market & Customer Insights
What is the degree to which change direction is based on a clear
customer and market reality and insight?
The majority of our
new product or service
development is from
the 'inside-out'
New project teams
have a validated
external market need
they are addressing
To what degree is there a language of customer centricity from
senior management?
Language of customer
centricity does not
exist
Customers are in the
middle of the decision
making process across
the agency
The discussion isn’t about
the Agency of the Future model,
it is about moving towards
your Agency of the Future model.
Monica is passionate about designing new services & experiences that
humans love, as well as the value propositions & business models behind
them. Her areas of expertise are Design Thinking, Innovation Facilitation,
Customer Experience & Product Development.
Over the last 15 years, Monica has led strategic digital initiatives for global
brands such as Bombardier, Takeda, Virgin & Nissan, as well as managed
CX/Design teams & Innovation Labs across Europe & Asia.
MONICA ALONSO
#INNOVATIONFACILITATOR
#STRATEGY #DESIGNTHINKING
#CX #PRODUCT&SERVICES
Piero has been assisting medium & large organisation’s on their digital
transformations since the early 2000’s. He is passionate about the human
impact of change & aligning an organisation to affect the change
required - in the most human way possible.
Piero has led digital transformation efforts globally for companies such as
Telstra, the Australian Government, Emirates Airlines, Swarovski, Warner
Music, Ladbrokes & Takeda. He has also built & managed regional teams
of over 60 people to deliver integrated transformation & consulting
services for these clients. Piero has build and lead creative, media and
digital agencies and held senior positions in Havas and Omnicom
agencies in London, Spain and Dubai.
PIERO POLI
#STRATEGY #CHANGEMANAGEMENT
#BUSINESSDEVELOPMENT
#MEDIA #COMMUNICATIONS #ADVERTISING
Who we are
We work with businesses
on how to transform.
Alonso//Poli was formed because, after 30+ years of combined
business transformation and innovation experience, we got
too far away from “the doing”. We exist to make ideas
happen. We work closely with our clients to tackle the
obstacles between vision and reality in order to materialise
transformation.
We’re growing. Recently, we partnered with Duval Union
Consulting, a transformation consultancy with offices in
Amsterdam, Ghent and Dubai. Our combined experience
means over 40 passionate and experienced individuals who
can partner on your agency’s transformation needs.
We hope you found the read useful, most of all, inspiring.
Drop us a line at hello@alonsopoli.com to start a
conversation, we’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Agency of the future - beginning the transformation journey

  • 1. The Agency of the Future How can agencies begin the transformation journey they require? 5 Guiding principles. February, 2019
  • 2. You Broad, motherhood statements that ‘agencies must change or die’, are not helpful, nor needed. After almost 100 interviews with agency leaders globally and 20+ interviews with clients over three continents, we wanted to share our insight about how agencies can transform into a future vision of themselves. At the end of 2018, we released two initial sections of this white paper. Now, we’d like to share the remaining thinking. This is not a white paper which will provide the definite answer for which model to follow. Simply, because there is no one answer. It will however show a path and several tools of how to get there from what we saw as the common needs of agencies across our investigations. Drop us a line at hello@alonsopoli.com to keep in touch. 11% 1 Billion The level of mistrust between advertisers and their media agencies increased to 40% in 2018, from 29% in 2016.* P&G cut $1 Billion USD from ad and production spend and still sees organic growth of up to 6% in last 4 years.** *ID Comms, 2018, **AdAge, 2018 know this
  • 3. The Agency of the Future challenge needs to be looked at via the broader mega-trend of societal and business transformation being driven by exponential disruption which technological change brings. Framing the challenge any differently will sub-optimise any strategic moves made.
  • 4. Our wretched species is so made that those who walk on the well-trodden path always throw stones at those who are showing a new road. Thoughts on starting the journey correctly. Your Agency of the Future Without the correct starting point, framing the challenge imposed by the question of what should be the Agency of the Future, is meaningless. Too much of the debate and discussion we have observed on this topic, by quite senior people in the advertising industry, is binary. These are discussions of more/less digital, more/less data, more/less social, production, in-housing, outsourcing, AI, consulting etc., etc. Most limiting, is that the majority of the discussion is based on a narrow view of how the world has changed, how the world is changing and what the agency’s personal vision for the future is. Some agencies seem to be able to create future visions for their client’s brands, but, not for themselves. It is important that an agency’s view of the future and what it means is deeply imbedded in reality and shared by the leaders and change agents in the agency. It needs to be a future which is visceral, honest, based on well-considered evidence, and one agencies and clients are willing to move towards. There also needs to be a recognition that the future is not a definitive point in time to be reached. There will be different futures for different agencies. The reality that most traditional and large agencies are coming from a similar starting point, tends to obscure this fact. The Agency of the Future challenge needs to be looked at via the broader mega-trend of societal and business transformation being driven by the pace, density and unpredictability that technological change brings. Framing the challenge any differently will sub-optimise any strategic moves made. A strategic direction, based on a subset view of the actual challenge, will mean any direction taken will become exponentially more irrelevant over time. Alonso//Poli - Voltaire
  • 5. Signposts to enable the best future outcomes 5 Guiding Principles Be careful of ‘wisdom’ such as “we just need to get back to what we do best, create” or “it is really a data and influence game on social we need to play” or, “we need to own customers again through knowing their journeys”, and least of all, “the world will always need stories and storytellers, that is what we do”. Such do-it-yourself wisdom, which doesn’t have transformation at the heart, is at best self-serving, at worst fatal in an industry which is beset by complex change. We see the 5 Guiding Principles in this document as fundamental ingredients for any Agency of the Future transformation. Why these? In our research, we saw many agencies simply ‘jumping in the deep-end’ with their transformation approach - with limited thinking. Agencies were implementing new, marginal technologies; up-turning structures; hiring in avant-garde job titles and firing ‘legacy’ talent. These moves were largely without a strong sense of why or where the agency was going, let alone a strong plan of how to implement change. What was also missing was any deep thinking of how culture change (crucial for sustainability) would occur. This white paper talks to these gaps and the discussion looks to highlight the 5 principles which should be considered on any journey to create your Agency of the Future and overcome the pitfalls above. Abundant thinking. Immune responses How can technology bring abundant growth? How do you harness resistance against the change new growth brings? 03 Frame the problem correctly Do the analysis. Understand future scenarios and what drives change. Don’t limit thinking from the beginning. 01 It is complex. Think Core & Edge Explore many solutions. Build a roadmap with solutions that disrupt (Edge) & those which enable evolution (Core). 02 Don’t go it alone Collaboration and internal and external ecosystems are core aspects of successful change. Create yours. 04 Make change human centric, dynamic You are probably going to have to change, a lot, then change again. Iterate, learn & adapt with your people. 05 Alonso//Poli
  • 6. The real impact of technology is not the disruption - we have been dealing with that for centuries. It is the pace, density and unpredictability that disruption brings. Salim Ismail, co-author, “The Exponential Organisation” & Founding Executive Director, The Singularity University
  • 7. Start here. How is your agency evolving in the competitive landscape? To get the thinking juices flowing, challenge yourself to ask “Where is my agency in relation to the various models which are evolving?” Each model has a hypothesis of agency-landscape change which can inform thinking further down the track. An insight from this analysis, is that agency types are evolving in multiple streams. We are not seeing a race by scaled agencies to regress back to older models or new models trying to mimic traditional agencies at scale. Where does you agency stand now? TRADITIONAL AGENCY MODELS Alonso//Poli, Agency Competitive Landscape Analysis,, December 2018 EMERGING AGENCY MODELS Alonso//Poli * Changing positively through acquisition *
  • 8. The problem space If an agency does not properly define its current reality, nor have a solid understanding of the important realities which will impact its future, its ability to understand ‘the problem to solve’ is diminished to virtually zero. When do you know that you are really getting under the skin of knowing your reality? Honestly, when you and other people start feeling uncomfortable with the questions being asked, and the evidence being shown. The definition of the problem space needs to be visceral; felt emotionally and known intellectually. Be concerned if leaders in your agency are saying any of the following about understanding the problem space. “It is ok. I know what we need. We just need to implement x.” “There is no problem with us, its because of <insert client / technology / competitor / GAAFA / etc.” “Our people are just not good enough, we need new people.”* “This is all noise. I have seen this before. This will pass.” * Some leaders don’t realise the irony inherent in this statement until too late. Be encouraged if leaders in your agency are saying any of the following about understanding the problem space. “Who can we work with to better understand what’s happening and how we could change?” “Let’s go and really speak to our clients, what do they need moving forward?” “Let’s deeply understand the scenarios which will impact us.” 01
  • 9. How can an agency better understand its problem space? There are various approaches to really understand and define the problem space an agency finds itself in. Many are not revolutionary, the right one for an agency depends on many factors (largely cultural and internal). When assessing which methodology is best for your agency make sure the following elements are present. Ensure the methodology: 1. Creates a visceral understanding of reality 2. Provides clarity with potential options for change 3. Has the power to engage and align the agency Alonso//Poli Creates a visceral understanding of reality Has the power to engage and align the agency Provides clarity with potential options for change Ensures a deeply felt need for change is created which will be implemented Reality Ignites people to implement change as it is clear and agreed Motivation Gives a clear way forward based on sound knowledge of the situation and scenarios Direction The right model Approaches to defining a problem space vary. The following, if used correctly, hit the three key points above Methodologies Duval Union Consulting & Alonso//Poli Executive Journey Exo Lever Exo Sprint The Corporate StartUp Innovation Thesis
  • 10. Alonso//Poli How agencies can understand relevant change Within the multiple streams of change facing agencies, which are most relevant when defining the problem space? The 7 Metaphors© of change is a methodology to group the multiplicity of different trends into more digestible and focused areas. More than one of the 7 Metaphors may be relevant to an agency’s reality. Each requires interrogation and deep understanding. Each relevant metaphor then forms the launchpad for a strategic narrative to be built and solutions to be imagined. The Gatekeeper Describes the impact of changes in opinion making, leadership and new players which dominate attention Drivers of change: The new gatekeepers, Recommendations, Good is Good Enough, Ambassadorship The Traveller Describes the changing relationship between people, their devices and the world Drivers of change: Localisation, Utility, Empowered Self, Instant Gratification, New ways of working, Contextual Awareness The Frog Describes the forces which change the value chain within industries and sectors Drivers of change: Bypassing, virtualisation, fragmentation The Cyborg Describes the changing relationship between people and technology Drivers of change: Internet of Things, The Quantified Self, Artificial Intelligence, Data The Package Describes the impact of bundling, unbundling and re-bundling in the digital world Drivers of change: APPification, Long Tail, Personalised, Experience, Speed, Price, (Self)-service, Scalability, Monolithic vs. atomic The Participant Describes the changing relationship between people, organisations and brands Drivers of change: Community, Collaboration, Sharing Economy, The power of the cord The Glass House Describes the changing relationship between the organisation and the outside world Drivers of change: Transparency, accountability, proximity, responsiveness, bi-directionality, humanization, authenticity ©Duval Union Consulting (in partnerships with Alonso//Poli) Metaphors The 7
  • 11. Core & Edge This is a story about battleships and speedboats. No organisation can change all the things it wants to at the same time - nor should it. The disruption and dislocation this would cause would likely destroy the business. Of course, if the situation is absolutely dire, then drastic measures may well be the only option. Duel speed transformation is a proven way to effect transformational change. Keep the core of the agency stable with lower impact change (so the Battleship can provide stability) and disrupt with highly innovative initiatives at the edge (send idea speedboats out to quickly test/learn/scale new business models/markets/customers/technologies etc.) What characterises a Core Initiative ? ● Aligned to agreed upon problem space ● Improves the agency’s primary business model ● Relatively quick to implement ● Fall into more traditional ‘business improvement / enhancement’ initiatives ● Lower risk of failure ● Not necessarily technology focused ● Typically referred to as Horizon 1 projects. See next What characterises a Edge Initiative ? ● Aligned to agreed upon problem space ● Develops a new business model into existing or new markets ● Higher risk of failure ● Takes iterative/design thinking/agile approaches ● Medium/long term, timeframes to implement and see ROI ● Typically applies technology first thinking ● Typically referred to as Horizon 2 or 3 projects. See next 02
  • 12. Use ‘Horizon Planning’ to map Core vs Edge initiatives Capturing the initiatives so that the business gets a sense of their impact and timeframes is important. Horizon planning is one way of achieving this and give a sense of drastic the imagined changes will be for the agency. Horizons speak both to how the initiatives impact the business, and the likely time frame being looked at to implement the initiatives, adding at least 12 months at each Horizon step is not an unrealistic first assumption on timing. ● Core : Horizon 1 / 2 initiative ● Edge: Horizon 2 / 3 initiatives Alonso//Poli Horizon 1 solutions Horizon 2 solutions Horizon 3 solutions Products / Services / Technology / Business Models Markets Source: Adapted from McKinsey ‘Horizons’ Thinking
  • 13. Abundance & Immunity Two concepts, at first seemingly unrelated, have been a strong and recent part of the thinking when organisations are looking at creating their version of the future. Abundance is about examining your agency and reframing the way you look at its pieces to see abundance, where once you saw liability or fragmentation. Capitalising on abundance in your agency is created primarily by examining how, through the application of technology, your agency can flourish. Don’t just think about the ‘standard’ agency technologies either - what about innovation, culture, learning, talent management and productivity technologies? See next. Immunity responses are seen in all types of organisms, including organisations and agencies when stressed by change. People are resistant to change and exhibit various behaviours in response to it - many of these behaviours are not constructive. If not harnessed, they can derail any change initiative or process. Developing and engaging a ‘change agent’ strategy (see section 5) is a powerful way to work with immune responses to aid change. A story to inspire abundant thinking.. In 1990, delivering letters accounted for 70% of the France Post service turnover; in 2020 it will be less than 20%. The company is looking for new ways to make a profit from its 73,000 postal workers. Instead of seeing them as a cost, it imagined what forms of abundance this network could bring. So, they launched a new service called “Watch Over My Parents” which allows customers to pay for postal workers to check on their elderly relatives. Since its launch in 2017, more than 6,000 customers are paying approximately 250 Euros a year for the service. The ‘abundant’ idea was enabled through technology. All communication is via a custom app which offers direct communication between the elderly person, their family and the postal worker, it tracks and manages the entire service. 03
  • 14. What types of technologies could agencies consider? Often, when agencies think about the introduction or use of technology, it is largely a discussion on enhancing existing business models (ie. programmatic platforms, social media tools etc) or applying technology to functions and processes once done without technology (ie. media plan development and management). Transforming your agency will mean needing to look a lot more broadly at the role technology can and should play. The diagram to the right helps to capture both tried-and-tested and newer technologies to consider outside of the ‘default’ technologies often cited first. Alonso//Poli Periodic Table for ‘Agency of the Future’ Technologies
  • 15. Better together Undertaking the task of agency transformation is best done in partnership. Not only in partnership with clients, but, with other key stakeholders relevant to bringing your specific Agency of the Future vision to fruition. Some things to keep in mind: ● Depending on what that vision is, the partnerships will vary ● Don’t limit your thinking regarding which partnerships to include ● The design process you choose should have partnership thinking baked into its process via the identification and inclusion of key ‘users’ ● Partners will play one or more roles - support, advise, beta-test initiatives, investment, etc. Clients TechnologyConsultants Sister Agencies Internal Teams Your Agency 04
  • 16. Being human Arguably, the most important aspect of any agency transformation process is people. The reasons for this are broad, deep and largely self-evident. Without involving the right people in the business, iimagining , implementing and sustaining any change initiatives will have failure baked in from the outset. What you may see, by railroading change through your agency, are perhaps a one or two year financial uptick, but, a deep loss of faith, motivation and talent which will undermine sustainability and further change down the track. We’ve seen this too often. Engaging team members can take many forms. Baked into solid design thinking is the continual feedback and involvement of team members. Any sound design process will facilitate teams being involved through all initiatives. Through this involvement, a culture of agility and learning will also be built. There are many approaches to engendering team involvement as part of an agency transformation process, some of these are outlined below with tools to support. Change Leads Change Teams Change Agents Change Partners ● CDO ● Chief Innovation Officer ● Agile teams ● MVP teams ● Champions across agency ● HR Department ● Consulting Partners Change systems / approaches / tools to support teams & individuals 1. Human centered design principles and approaches 2. Transformational Readiness Audits across agency. See next 3. Digital training and upskilling 4. Implementation of communication processes and channels (road shows, lunch & learn sessions, innovation excursions etc.) 05
  • 17. How ready is your agency to change? Transformational readiness factors in people, operations, the context of the business and the crucial element of leadership. The example to the right, is an extract from a more comprehensive Alonso//Poli audit framework. These audits are not just about ticking boxes and providing scores. They perform the helpful task of beginning and aligning the internal dialogue on the need and direction of the transformation required. It helps you understand, ‘Where to start?’ Used properly, they break down walls, bring disparate mindsets together, can offer tracking on progress when repeated over time and begin creating shared language for change. Alonso//Poli The degree to which the real 'Problem Space' is known, considered, and included in the agency change process. Market & Customer Insights What is the degree to which change direction is based on a clear customer and market reality and insight? The majority of our new product or service development is from the 'inside-out' New project teams have a validated external market need they are addressing To what degree is there a language of customer centricity from senior management? Language of customer centricity does not exist Customers are in the middle of the decision making process across the agency
  • 18. The discussion isn’t about the Agency of the Future model, it is about moving towards your Agency of the Future model.
  • 19. Monica is passionate about designing new services & experiences that humans love, as well as the value propositions & business models behind them. Her areas of expertise are Design Thinking, Innovation Facilitation, Customer Experience & Product Development. Over the last 15 years, Monica has led strategic digital initiatives for global brands such as Bombardier, Takeda, Virgin & Nissan, as well as managed CX/Design teams & Innovation Labs across Europe & Asia. MONICA ALONSO #INNOVATIONFACILITATOR #STRATEGY #DESIGNTHINKING #CX #PRODUCT&SERVICES Piero has been assisting medium & large organisation’s on their digital transformations since the early 2000’s. He is passionate about the human impact of change & aligning an organisation to affect the change required - in the most human way possible. Piero has led digital transformation efforts globally for companies such as Telstra, the Australian Government, Emirates Airlines, Swarovski, Warner Music, Ladbrokes & Takeda. He has also built & managed regional teams of over 60 people to deliver integrated transformation & consulting services for these clients. Piero has build and lead creative, media and digital agencies and held senior positions in Havas and Omnicom agencies in London, Spain and Dubai. PIERO POLI #STRATEGY #CHANGEMANAGEMENT #BUSINESSDEVELOPMENT #MEDIA #COMMUNICATIONS #ADVERTISING Who we are We work with businesses on how to transform. Alonso//Poli was formed because, after 30+ years of combined business transformation and innovation experience, we got too far away from “the doing”. We exist to make ideas happen. We work closely with our clients to tackle the obstacles between vision and reality in order to materialise transformation. We’re growing. Recently, we partnered with Duval Union Consulting, a transformation consultancy with offices in Amsterdam, Ghent and Dubai. Our combined experience means over 40 passionate and experienced individuals who can partner on your agency’s transformation needs. We hope you found the read useful, most of all, inspiring. Drop us a line at hello@alonsopoli.com to start a conversation, we’d love to hear your thoughts.