The key challenge now from an OD perspective was to support leaders in the adoption and maintenance of these changes.

One of the main objectives of the work was for a culture of innovation to trickle down through the organisation to ensure that there was common understanding and knowledge at every level.

“We have started with senior leaders” explains Philipp Kurtenbach,”but we are now gradually bringing the content down to the next levels of the organisation. The leadership programme was a good start and now Dentsu Aegis Network needs to create opportunities so that people can apply what they have learned in the programme and bring it into a business reality.”

Dentsu Aegis Network work to the ‘70/20/10’ capability development model: they believe that capability is best developed in individuals through a mix that is broadly delivered 70% through in-job development (including self-managed learning), 20% through specific project/business activities and 10% through attendance at more formal ‘out of workplace’ activities. The key now was to support leaders in adopting the process and applying the tools and techniques in their own parts of the business.

One part of this is taking the programme forward and customising it to deliver specific business goals. Vizeum, one of Dentsu Aegis Network’s global media brands, created a leadership network which has adopted an action-learning approach working through a shared digital platform. They are also now working with Good Growth to create a version of this programme that focuses on the impact of digital and how to create consumer-led innovation for their clients.

Further activities being discussed include training a cadre of internal process champions who can work across the matrix to support the adopting of the core process and key tools and techniques and creating short modularised versions of the ‘out of the workplace’ programme to allow more teams to be introduced to each element as they work on client and business challenges.

The programme was designed to help the leaders of Dentsu Aegis Network to deliver innovation and creativity through people to realise their vision of ‘innovating the way brands are built’ and, in so doing, continue to grow the business to meet its goals. At its heart, the programme has the delivery of enabling tools and techniques that allow executives to leave better equipped to identify and encourage innovation in their companies.

When we initiate a programme with a client, it is important that they work with us closely at each stage in order to derive the best possible results. In this case, we wanted to make the concept of innovation seem very real and to contextualise why it is so important. To get this right it was important to hear what the client expected of us in order for them to innovate and it was also essential to ensure that the exploration of innovation was based on real world views and experience.

Innovation is notoriously difficult to develop; yet this programme has been able to engage leaders in a sector where creativity drives growth and help establish a platform from which change can be driven throughout the business. We believe the key reasons for this are:

  • Building a process and not just a programme – it starts and finishes with organisation effectiveness and a business goal.
  • Linking it to a central driver of business strategy – in this case rapidly changing client expectations driven by transformation of the sector by technology.
  • Making a relevant common methodology the central ‘big idea’ – the central proposition in design thinking (test and learn based on insight) is a core driver in digital ‘good practice’.
  • Choosing faculty who are practitioners and thought-leaders creating a combination of experience of practice in the room with access to benchmark examples and cases from around the globe.
  • Working on real business issues when ‘out of the workplace’ to see the process in action and experience the value of a shared way or working and commonly understood tools and techniques.
  • Facilitating not teaching – combining challenging inputs with a learning approach that creates a sense of shared discovery and common solutions at a pace that suits the learners.