According to John Winsor, “Innovation is the ability to see over the horizon and build a bridge to the future.”
Winsor understands a fair amount about distant vision and building bridges. Well-known for heading the world’s first agency built on crowdsourcing, Winsor also introduced the idea of Co-creation to the world of marketing and product innovation back in 2003 through his book Beyond the Brand. “Now,” he says, “three more books later-- Spark, Flipped and Baked In, I’ve had the good fortune of founding a few companies in the space, Radar Communications and Victors & Spoils, based on principles of co-creation, open innovation and crowdsourcing.”
Victors & Spoils, now part of the Paris-headquartered Havas Group, was launched from Colorado in 2009 and founded on a simple but fundamental principle: ideas can come from everywhere. John Winsor believes that today’s mass cultural movement is rooted in the radical democratization of creativity and the rise of The Sharing Economy. Thanks to social media and technology, everyone now has the same tools for creativity and production, as well as platforms that provide broader access. And, everyone has the right to participate.
The start of Victors & Spoils is the stuff of legend. Once the agency had gathered a strong creative crowd, they needed work, and turned to Harley Davidson. John recounts his initial contact with Harley in the book Pioneers of Digital: “We noticed, like everyone else did, that Harley Davidson had got rid of their agency for the last 30 years. We just decided to use the power of social media and digital to put our own brief together and launch it. We put our money where our mouth was, threw in $5,000 for the best ideas, launched it into our crowd, and told Harley that we were working for them.
I wrote a blog post saying, ‘Hey, enjoy the pitch processes with your agencies and have good dinners and great meetings. As you guys do that, we’ll have 2,500 people working on your business. Give us a shot if you want to talk about it.’” Harley Davidson’s CMO appreciated the approach and took them on. V&S’s work with Harley has developed into TV, press, web and film.
John Winsor adds: “Today innovation is everything. We’re trying to build a new agency operating system that allows our clients to tap into their fans, followers and customers using the power of abundance to power their marketing and product innovation.” (We wouldn’t expect anything less from a man who in 1993 set the world record for the ascent and decent of Mount Kilimanjaro.)