Hilary Jeffrey believes that Innovation is a “continuum.” She comments that it can range “from something that is a new approach to a traditional media, to something that is new to a brand – all the way across to something that is new to the industry.”
She joined PHD nearly a decade ago, but a dedication to innovation remains at the core of what drives her on a daily basis. For example, Hilary thinks quite differently about team structure. In an effort to break down the conventional agency hierarchical structure, she believes in building teams of three future-facing disciplines--a Strategy Director, Innovation Director and Market Engagement Director. She calls this “a triumvirate that drives clear strategic thinking for clients, while building in the latest thinking in technology and new media platforms to ensure total relevance to the market situation.” This new structure, in fact, has resulted in significant global Communications Planning Awards from Unilever, GlaxoSmithKline and SC Johnson.
PHD has also developed a term called “Purposeful Innovation.” Hilary Jeffrey describes this as “innovation that suits the task at hand, innovation that scales, and innovation that really speaks to the audience – not just cool ideas for their own sake. This concept has also led to the development of PHD’s “Innovation Engine,” or a tool that selects and recommends innovation opportunities for brands.
Another highly-motivating project that Hilary has championed is PHD’s Big Hug in an effort to create a culture of collaboration across the Network. This global initiative supports local charities and good causes and has become a platform for PHD people to come together and “give back” to the projects that inspire them. Highlighted by James Heskett, HBS Professor as wonderful demonstration of how to build company culture, the Big Hug idea has resulted in hundreds of people around the world sharing stories of their great ideas and efforts.
The Big Hug initiative has actually delivered a tangible business impact for PHD. According to Hilary, “Our people now think and feel as one ‘family,’ and are happy to help and support each other with work, whilst client organizations are impressed by the consistency of our culture in each and every office where they meet us.”