Deirdre McGlashan believes that innovation isn’t about technology or job titles. To her, innovation is defined by a viewpoint that everyone can and should be innovating in their roles. It is about always wanting to do it better, looking at challenges from a different angle and solving a problem.
She is a boundary pusher, a challenger, and always willing to break what exists in the search for better solutions. She never lets the setbacks stop her in her quest to make something smarter and more effective. Deirdre co-founded analogfolk in 2008, moved to China to run wwwins Isobar Greater China in 2009, and is now revolutionizing about people think about digital at MediaCom. At the heart of her approach is a total engagement with the need to help MediaCom’s clients understand the digital opportunities of today as well as prepare for tomorrow’s challenges.
Her perspective is informed by having worked across all aspects of digital – creative, production, development, operations, media, strategy, technology, and data. This wider view is driving her program to put digital into the job description of every one of the network’s 6,000 staff globally.
Since she arrived in 2014, Deirdre has worked alongside the agency leadership and GroupM to revamp the network’s digital approach dramatically:
· Digital is not a silo, it’s not just ‘fully integrated’ but digital thinking – the application of information, the challenge of technology (defined as the tools the person is using) and the use of imagination – has become everyone’s job and everyone’s responsibility as part of our unique systems thinking approach.
- At the same time specialist skills are being recognized as important, celebrated and pushed.
- Knowledge dissemination and local market skills have been given a higher priority with dedicated roles created covering global media partnerships, mobile, social and programmatic.
She says, “Here at MediaCom we’re always looking at how to do things differently to do them better. I love our Bose work, which used Spotify’s unique insights to uncover hidden musical movements from around the world and Vice to turn those insights into beautiful content, and won a Lion at Cannes. Our systems thinking approach enables innovation because we’re looking at the entire system of communication, not just one part of it. We’re enabled by tech and data but real innovation comes from the brilliant minds who use that tech and data.”
Deirdre has also widely championed the role of women in tech across the industry. She spoke on the Cannes Lions stage this year alongside speakers from Unruly and Dell to address the issues surrounding women in tech and how the gender gap can be closed.