Well, truthfully, it was almost called Innovation Wankers. But luckily a small amount of sense intervened and Innovation Social was born. But when, why and what do we do?
In 2012 I went to SXSW for the first time, looked after by the wonderful @laurajaybee, and got to know the Creative Social lot. Creative Social is a rather amazing beast - founded in 2004 by Daniele Fiandaca and Mark Chalmers – it is a collective of interactive creative directors who “recognise that collaborating will advance and inspire the industry and also help everyone enjoy the life work imbalance even more”.
At the time my job title was slightly ridiculous, Head of Emerging Behaviour, and as I got to know more and more people the number of crazy job titles multiplied, most of which included the word Innovation. In a flippant moment came the suggestion to Daniele to set-up Innovation Wankers. And then one of those bizarre moments happened when we both thought...there might be something in this. But maybe drop the ‘wanker’ and call it Innovation Social...and in summer 2012, Innovation Social was born. The little sister of Creative Social.
So what is Innovation Social about? Well at the first meeting, with people like Daniele, Mel Exon, Amelia Torode, Jonny Spindler, Hamish Nicklin and Nigel Gwilliam we argued about this a lot. But we have got to two main purposes. Firstly, most similar to Creative Social, we’re a collective of Innovation people who want to collaborate to bring more definition to this new discipline in the industry – the Innovation Director or CIO.
More fundamentally we want agencies and clients to be braver in what they market in the first place. Instead of saying – this product/service is poor and undifferentiated but let’s use all our creative talents to try and make it compelling anyhow. Let’s instead say – this service/product is poor and undifferentiated but let’s use all our creative talents to make this service/product better and not market it, until it is. As John Willshire puts it:
Innovation Social is a collective of Innovation people who want to equip the communications industry to create and demand products and services worth marketing in the first place.
So what do we do to realise this ambition? Well, we’re new and are still working this through. Most frequently, the Socials meet every couple of months to share something one of us is up to. You can read about these here. We also talk about how we can realise more effectively our purpose as described above.
Twice a year we hold an event – the first one was in May, called Innovation Stories. This aimed to bring to the forefront stories where businesses and agencies have innovated rather than advertised and sought to inspire others to do exactly that. Our next event will be in October called Innovation Date.
Lastly, we hook people up – if one of our Socials could be interesting for X with Y we suggest them. Or if a group of people should get to know another group of people we get it going. We believe that the day of acting in silo’s is long gone and the communications industry needs to collaborate to achieve change.
Not bad for a bunch of Innovation wankers people.
If you are interested in Innovation and would like to be part of Innovation Social then please tweet us on @InnovationSoc