Born: United Kingdom
Worked in: London, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Miami
What is the role of innovation in emerging regions? Working in emerging regions often puts a slightly different perspective on “innovation,” as a significant advance may be considered a traditional way of doing business in longer-established markets. However, the challenge of innovation is the same — to bring new thinking and ways of doing business to the forefront.
Describe an innovative idea or business solution of which you are most proud. Here are examples of how we are bringing innovation to our Latin American offices: To overcome the conservative nature of organizational structures, we work to convince teams that they have permission to make a decision or have an opinion. An innate cultural value in Latin America — art and music — has helped. A strategic vision, expressed visually, is expected in every client presentation, and is all the better when accompanied by relevant music.
We have also worked to create a system of rewards and costs; there is a reward for success and a cost for failure. During the implementation of our Communication Planning and Implementation process, a “CPI Contest” among the offices was developed to build a new business model in an unaddressed area of communications — public relations, telemarketing, retail advertising, etc. The winning teams enhanced their existing business — a direct tie to earning potential. The agency also developed centers of expertise beyond traditional TV buying.
Latin America is Spanish-dominant, so many of the global materials necessary for internal communications went unread. We developed a “translation committee” made up of representatives in each country to improve the process.
To train and drive “self-esteem,” we developed a SWAT team approach. A small training group comprised of representatives of management, content and software parachute into a country to work with our local teams on important client projects. Learning occurs by doing.
INTERNATIONIST TRIVIA: I took a year-long sabbatical to visit the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.