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W+K's Colleen DeCourcy's optimism: we're lucky to be in a post-advertising world

Last month Colleen DeCourcy, chief creative officer of ad agency Wieden+Kennedy, gave a presentation about building 21st-century brands to the Interactive Advertising Bureau. The title is "Welcome to Optimism: Brand Building in a Post-Advertising World." This idea that all the rules have changed is a familiar theme for any industry that's evolving quickly. 

I have always been fascinated by the process and results of innovation. I'm not sure innovation is something we can actually manage. Often we seem to be barely holding on for the ride. I do think that DeCourcy and W+K have put together a point of view that rings true, and their expression of these ideas in impeccable. 

"Size [of the company] is no longer your friend. It's hampering reinvention to match the shape of the market."

Think about that in context of Facebook. Then she says...

"Any move that isn't in the direction of nimbleness, emotional intelligence, transparency and collaboration, is building in the wrong direction."

If true, it would mean that the Zuckerberg approach, which is to manage the use of Facebook from the top down, with little transparency, is pretty hopeless. 

"What we have learned is that to build anything on top of what we have now is a fool's errand."

The speech contained many more fascinating ideas, and I recommend a quick read

More quotes: 

Disruptive innovation is one of the most misunderstood concepts in modern business. It's rooted in just one thing: more people having access to tools that used to be available only to people with lots of money or skill.... This one thing is the biggest thing we need to remind ourselves of every day.

More delivery, less friction.
That's the challenge we ALL have in front of us in the 21st century.

We moved from a market of things to a market of systems. 

Fear is the enemy of innovation.
I try to practice non-attachment. We all should. 

data is a form of empathy (their boldface, not mine)

The one big learning? You gotta be willing to break your process. 

The creation of a community that works in concert with the brand gives the whole endeavor a larger purpose in society. That matters.

The new W+K prescription for brand building: 

WK-21stC-Brand