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Agencies’ obsession with owning ideas is ‘killing innovation’, says digital agency boss

Jean Lin

Jean Lin talks innovation at Cannes

Agencies need to be open to sharing their ideas if they are to truly embrace innovation, a global digital agency boss said today.

Jean Lin, the global CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network-owned agency Isobar, told delegates at Cannes Lions that agencies need to challenge the “not invented here” nature of the creative industry, which was holding innovation back in advertising and media, Lin said.

“Agencies need to have the confidence to share what they do with other people,” she said. “As agencies, we want to own outcomes, but this is the attitude that will kill innovation the most.”

“There are no geniuses in the world, only pirates of innovation who collaborate,” said Lin, who was promoted from global chief strategy officer and APAC CEO to global CEO in March this year.

Innovation comes from a culture of collaboration and “rigorous process”, Lin said, adding that agencies needed to stop stressing the need to deliver innovation at scale.

“We all talk about delivering innovation at scale, but scale doesn’t matter. All that matters is if it is personal, adaptive and valuable,” she said.

She was talking at a session titled ‘Prototyping the future’ with Andy Lippman, associate director at MIT Media Lab and Nigel Morris, CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network Americas and EMEA.

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