Pointing the Way to the Future of Business

June 13, 2012  |  Branding

It's possible that you may not be familiar with the name Wolff Olins. You're almost certainly familiar with their work. The brand consultancy’s global client base includes Target, Mercedes-Benz, and GE (among others) and their output has appeared across virtually every media channel, social and otherwise (see their "work" page for more).

They've earned their share of accolades over the years for what they've accomplished, but we're even more interested in how they think. They embody the kinds of new approaches to advertising, communications, and design that are more and more becoming necessary. We consider them kindred spirits in that regard and we often find good food for thought in both what they do and how they do it.

Along those lines, two examples recently crossed our desk here at Orange Element that we thought might be useful to share.

First, Chris Moody checks in with an interesting take on client work called Don Draper Has Got It Wrong, wherein he deftly argues in favor of collaborative creativity as the key to successful work on behalf of clients.

"Great agencies therefore don’t ‘sell’ ideas cold," he says, "they work collaboratively and closely with a client to create a better story based on reality and then put it in the world."

This is exactly the kind of thing we mean here at OE when we say we "Listen Carefully and Lead With Big Ideas". It’s critical to pay attention to a client’s needs, concerns, and on-the-ground business realities before jumping into anything else. Once you've learned as much as you can, then it's time to put it all to use in service of creative, inspired problem solving.

Each half – listening closely and leading with big ideas – feeds the other.

Back to Wolff Olins for a moment, the other thing that caught our eye was their "Game Changers" series, a five part report "examining today's high-growth businesses and what sets them apart...[to] offer a better understanding of how these companies are changing the way the game is played and thereby shaping the future of business."

The whole series is worth a read but Let's Not Do Better, Let's Do Different might be the place to start. Love this passage:

This is a business world where change is unpredictable and incoherent, where it happens at different speeds in different places and contexts, where no-one knows anything (including the true value of Facebook).

In such a world the only sane strategy is creativity: don't predict your future, invent it.

Indeed. These are strange and interesting times, and those who come out ahead will be those who took the time to focus on innovation, make tough choices when needed, and meet the future head on instead of simply waiting for it to arrive.

What about you? Who's inspiring you these days with their work and/or their thinking? Reading recommendations are heartily welcomed.