Regional business Intelligence & Development Director
Omnicom Media Group
Born: Antwerp, Belgium
Worked in: Brussels, Paris, London (Regional Europe), Taipei (Taiwan) Singapore (Regional Asia-Pac), Indonesia (Pan-Regional SEA), New York (Global), Miami (Regional LatAm)
According to Jan Gerits, “Internationalism is about exchange. It is the ability to inspire many while being inspired by many. In my opinion, only internationalism provokes the right wide angle to provoke innovation.”
Dictionary definitions aside, how would you characterize innovation in the work you do? Innovation in our business is the ability to create thinking that generates disproportionately high returns on investment through the ability to capture market dynamics differently, to understand cause and effect in an unexplored way and to be able to generate new and fresh relevance to the industry and the clients’ businesses.
What role does innovation play in your marketing strategy today? Innovation is rapidly becoming the focal point of our business. In our market place where price and volume have long been the main drivers, innovation and related change management are crucial elements in the future forward planning of the company and the people who work here.
Name an innovative idea or business solution for which you are most proud.Innovation rarely works in vacuum. In my experience Innovation works best when it is stimulated across disciplines, across different groups of talents. Therefore it seems right to highlight a number of recent business initiatives which all build up to the innovative reputation of the company.
- Introduction of a new operating system in the LatAm region in order to promote differentiation and uniqueness in the way we approach business. Innovative elements include new ways of business analysis, new way of market visualization and redesign of the nature of the partnership we have with our clients.
- Introduction of a new philosophy to provoke more creativity and ideation in our network to further our reputation as a provider of innovative and break-through product.
- The introduction of a new and actualized toolset to perform analytics, planning and performance calculation functions which enhances the fiduciary responsibilities we have towards our clients as investors of the budgets they trust us with. To prove that the collective of these innovation works I am particularly proud of the fact that LatAm has increased its contribution to the success of the network in Cannes and that it is well on track to surpass the business objectives set in the beginning of the year. Further metrics of success include employee satisfaction and the increase of the overall quality of the work produced in the network throughout LatAm.
Why do people see you as an innovator? The most important qualities of an innovator are relevance and continuity. People see me as an innovator because I have the capability to make innovation relevant to the way business is conducted in a region or in a country. Generic innovation that applies to all in the same way is rarely successful because staff and clients, understandably, do not always see the relevance. The second reason is that I constantly provoke difference, ask different questions or, at the very minimum, ask questions differently.
This continuous action is the key to making innovation part of the corporate fabric and a way of living for our people.
What is the biggest challenge you face in applying innovative thinking to international projects?
Having experienced hurdles to innovation in various parts of the world, I would say the cultural differences and the subsequent degrees of ability to embrace change in the world are a challenge. Innovation often does not happen because of failure to manage change. I try to keep innovation accessible, actionable and results oriented.
Any other interesting aspects to your international background? I have worked in advertising, media and communications since graduating. I have worked in and acquired in depth knowledge about 3 out of 4 regions in the world. I have worked on the entire list of top 10 advertisers in the world Agencies I have managed have won over 78 local or international creative awards, 12 Effies and 2 of them became Agency of the Year.
I have a western name, a Chinese name and a name in Hindu