I was searching for interesting presentations or videos about work by digital agencies for automotive clients in the last year or so, and I couldn’t find any. Maybe I’ve been looking in the wrong places (if so, I’d be grateful if you could point me in the right direction), but it got me thinking – was Fiat Eco:Drive, which was launched in 2008, really the last exciting thing that happened in that field?

BMW is one brand that seems to be trying new stuff. After The Hire, the series of short films in 2001-2002 with directors like Wong Kar Wai, Guy Ritchie and John Woo at the helm, MDC Partners have recently done some interesting work for them.

Iterating for innovation and the Lean Agency: my talk at the #firestarters Google UK event

Not so long ago, Neil Perkin invited me to speak at the event he was arranging to take place at Google UK HQ. Neil was keen to explore what Agile Planning means and the event, named FireStarters, brought together a 100 or so planners to share in the discussion. What followed was an excellent evening that included Mark Earls giving us What She is Having and many breakout sessions on various themes over beers. Neil has a great write-up on his blog.

This was a great chance to expand on the Lean Startup based approach we are using at Made By Many and introduced at Planningness in NY back last September. Since then we have learn't alot and the presentation I gave (embedded after the jump) introduces what I think can become some best practice for developing "Lean Agencies", agencies built from the ground-up to search for innovation. 


Assumptions are a disease

When working in a team on a design or a vision, it’s pretty likely that lots and lots of assumptions will be made. They can be anthropological - “people will act as ambassadors”, “our users will share this” or “people will want to submit their stories, ideas, photos or limericks to our hub”. They can be economic – “This won’t cost much” or mechanical – “Yeah, of course our CMS can do that”.

Assumptions are seductive because they propel the project forward, they allow us to just bat away risk and move forward, like a juggernaut, unstoppable. They are exhilarating because it feels like you’re calling the shots, living on the edge or flying by the seat of your pants.