Future-Proofing Starts by Embracing Change

Earlier this month, we had the privilege to host one of IHAF’s regional roundtables at our LA office, where we learned about the bold moves leading in-house agencies like Bloomberg, Dollar Shave Club, PwC and Trunk Club made to enable their success. Each story challenged attendees to consider the changes they might make to advance their own teams, with in-house expert and co-founding IHAF member, Marta Stiglin, summarizing with sage advice: change doesn’t always result in progress, but progress does always require some degree of change.

Of course, change can be scary for both companies and individuals, and in-house agencies don’t often have the leverage to make their organizations less risk averse. We can challenge ourselves to embrace change in small ways, however, by embracing a learner’s mindset that advances innovation and attracts top talent as well.

The 2018 Adobe Digital Trends for Creative & Design Leaders Survey noted that over a third of in-house practitioners cited finding and retaining talent to be a major challenge. Recruiting multi-skilled creative talent is key to future-proofing a business—particularly talent that “gets” the practical use cases of emerging tech and how to apply data to effectively reach audiences across content ecosystems.

Agency search consultant and Forbes contributor, Avi Dan, recently wrote that the key to getting in creatives’ good graces is “having a stomach for risk (to be) at the center of a culture of creativity.” By continually pushing talent to build on ideas before deciding against them, brands build an environment that’s more exciting and attractive to creatives.

While Dan is writing primarily about clients who work with external partners, the same can be said for any creative team. MediaMonks partner and Global Executive Creative Director, Jouke Vuurmans, is a strong believer in pursuing pie-in-the-sky ideas that may not appear practical at first blush. “The best work we’ve done has always had an impossible situation,” Vuurmans says, advising organizations to bridge creative and technical team members together to identify what’s possible.

This approach is not only exciting creatively, it provides team members the opportunity to expand their skillsets—or, at least, their understanding of the broad creative and production process. It also enables in-house agencies to innovate by constantly striving to reach new heights, undeterred by technical limitations or creative tension.

Yes, this can result in some friction and, no, you won’t be successful every time you set a new goal—but that’s okay. In fact, in his interview with Adobe, MediaMonks founder, Wesley ter Haar, asserted that innovation doesn’t guarantee instant ROI. “The most important thing is what you learn from it,” he said.

So, although change doesn’t guarantee progress, brands hoping to make headway will benefit greatly by fostering an environment that embraces risk-taking and change. Whether recruiting top talent or adopting a challenger’s mindset, in-house agencies can set themselves on the path to progress.

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