At 3Q Digital, we’re always pushing the innovation envelope; we believe this is an essential component of success in an industry that changes so frequently. This post kicks off our inaugural Innovation Week, where we showcase all manner of innovations that have improved results for our clients and teammates.

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A little over a year ago, I came to 3Q Digital from iProspect, an agency that is part of the global holding company Dentsu-Aegis. The first thing I noticed about the people at 3Q was a palpable sense of confidence, creativity, and innovative thinking across all agency channels and practices. I immediately noticed a positive support for teammates, an environment that encourages creative and innovative thinking. In client meetings, QBRs, internal brainstorm sessions, etc., you get a strong feeling that the people who work at 3Q feel confident and free to think out of the box, to problem-solve creatively, and to share ideas – no matter how crazy they might be.

The “no idea is a bad idea” environment is critical in promoting company values and driving passion, mission, and purpose at any type of agency. In short, a supportive environment is critical to promoting and maintaining an innovative spirit.

As the head of our Creative Services team at 3Q, I need to encourage and foster creativity and innovative thinking within the Creative team so that the final creative we develop – the ads and page designs, the user experiences, the campaign content, all of the deliverables we create for clients – is always the most impactful and effective. Creating a supportive environment – where everyone at a brainstorm session feels free to ideate, where creativity bounces off every person in the room exponentially – is a cornerstone of our team’s internal operating philosophy. What motivates us is our relentless pursuit of the best and most effective outcome for our clients, which relies on an understanding of empathy and how to connect on a human level. Especially when our team is engaged in user experience design for our clients’ sites and landing pages, knowing how to connect design with audiences and understanding human behavior from an empathetic place is key to creating successful experiences that motivate users and drive performance.

Additionally, when it comes to how we interact with clients, we practice the same relentless pursuit of the most effective solution – even if that means challenging our clients from time to time. Tony Ulwick, founder of the strategy & innovation consulting firm Strategyn, developed the Outcome-Driven Innovation (ODI) process. At its core, the ODI paradigm focuses on jobs to be done, where the outcome and the “job-completion process” is the path for creating and communicating customer value. Ulwick writes that:

Many innovations fail because they rely on what customers say they need.. but customers often have a hard time describing what they really need. So when companies let customers drive the innovation process, there is a good chance the resulting innovation will fail.

At 3Q, we sometimes find ourselves needing to challenge our clients in order to arrive at the most effective outcomes. When our clients ask for a 1/4-inch drill bit, the 3Q response is “Hey, what we really want here is a 1/4 inch hole. So let’s try and find the best solution for getting us that 1/4 inch hole (then fill it with the best data, and measure everything going in and coming out of that hole).” Challenging clients isn’t always easy. It is tempting to simply listen to what our clients ask for, say “yes,” and deliver on their requests. Challenging clients requires confidence, and it requires support from other teammates. At 3Q, that confidence comes from account leads and managers being steeped in their campaign data and having a solid understanding of their practices. The support that teams get from their directors and senior leadership is also key in having the confidence to challenge clients to make the right decisions.

All said, when the 3Q values are put into practice with integrity, the result is innovation…as you’ll see from the Innovation Week posts coming your way.

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Aaron Bart
Aaron is 3Q Digital’s Vice President of Creative Services; he specializes in UX design, creative testing and conversion optimization. He has 16 years of experience in digital advertising, with a focus on conversion path optimization and analytics. Prior to joining 3Q, Aaron was Director of Creative Services at iProspect, where he led design, development and CRO efforts for Intel, ADP, Hilton Honors, Lenovo, Wells Fargo, Epicor, and other brands. Previously he co-managed the Interactive group at Y&R San Francisco, where he was responsible for developing and executing digital advertising campaigns for brands such as Microsoft, Hitachi Data Systems, Dr Pepper, and 7UP. Aaron received his BA from Oberlin College and his MA from Yale University.