Will agencies of the future be start-up incubators?

agencies as start-up incubators

(originally uploaded by Triplepundit.com)

My last 3 posts have had a pretty strong theme running around innovation; Think Like a Tech Start-Up, What is Your Gateway Drug? and My Plan for Creating an Innovative City.  So its pretty easy to see where my thoughts are at the moment.

As an agency that likes to work on innovative side projects, like NLYZR and Urban Insider, my team and I are often questioning the role of agencies going forward. I mean, we’re all supposed to be highly creative aren’t we? So why aren’t we getting more involved in creating more new businesses and revolutionising industries instead of just trotting out another 30 sec ad?

Then along comes the always clever Neil Perkin with a new post on his Only Dead Fish blog titled Agencies as Incubators. In it Neil looks at the Cannes Lions (formerly advertising awards), an amazing program supported by Wieden & Kennedy called the Portland Incubator Experiment which has some parallels to the excellent Y-Combinator concept in Silicon Valley and how Apple fund and secure new technology breakthroughs.

You must read this if you are interested in innovation or if you are going to be at the next Lunaticks event Smart and Innovative City Part 2. THIS  is the sort of thinking we need in our industry, not more self-indulgent award wankfests.

It seems to me that the time is ripe for agencies to start challenging their clients to think beyond business as usual and use that creativity to radically interrupt industries in the way new technology is reshaping the landscape.

Is yours?