Last month, we were invited to send three of our rising agency execs to Digiday’s Agency Innovation Camp in Vail, Colorado.
The camp is designed for millennial leaders within the agency to participate in thought-provoking activities centered around the concept of innovation in the evolving media landscape.
When you’re an agency predominantly made up of talented millennials, it’s hard to select just three. So we chose our three from across departments: Caroline Collins, Junior Art Director; Rylee Roquemore, Account Executive; and Shaydah Rabiee, Associate Media Buyer.
The Camp was just that: a camp, filled with competition and socialization, including a Brand Hackathon and Camp Olympics.
Our “agency stars” were split into groups who they spent majority of their time with. Each group was assigned a mentor from agencies and companies across the nation (and world) including HUGE, Saatchi & Saatchi, Digitas, MeUndies, Dell, and Travelocity.
Mentors guided their groups through a Brand Hackathon, which essentially boiled down to putting together a pitch in less than 48 hours, something we’re not exactly used to here at Big. Mentors also led 15-20 minute sessions speaking on topics such as “How to Buck the Millennial Stereotype,” “How to Lead a Brainstorm,” and “Driving Motivation Through the Art of Persuasion.”
With the fast-paced, jam-packed events, our crew took away five main insights.
- Brevity is the soul of wit. The 15-20 minute sessions were impactful, yet not overkill. The concept of the sessions themselves can be translated to meetings and presentations. Although some meetings require more time, having a clearly defined agenda with meaningful, guiding slides and visuals allows for the most effective meeting and maintaining your client’s or internal team’s attention. And for God’s sake, don’t have meetings for meetings’ sake. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
- Size doesn’t matter. Our crew was in the room with their peers from agencies with offices worldwide and employees in the hundreds and thousands. And we belonged there. Yes, these peers have worked on multiple national campaigns and have many budgets three times ours to do really sexy things, but we are utilizing technologies and strategies far beyond our pants’ size. This is incredibly validating for our agency stars that are rising through the ranks and helping Big grow bigger.
- Marsha. Marsha. Marsha. (Millennials. Millennials. Millennials.) Since the camp is designed for millennials in agencies, we spent a decent amount of time talking—not because we’re self-centered or entitled, but because this generation is a powerful consumer group and managers are still trying to figure out how to lead us. We talked about how to overcome the millennial stereotype in the workplace through truly understanding your business and your clients and focusing on results, not effort. The Brand Hackathon briefs required thoughtful tactics to be authentic to the millennial consumer group and meet them where they are with content and interaction that is meaningful to their lifestyles.
- Scared money don’t make no money. Innovation is where creativity meets new with a healthy dose of risk mixed in. Like A Tribe Called Quest once implied, innovation doesn’t come from playing it safe and always following the objectives to a tee. It comes from figuring out the real problem and finding a real, hot, risky solution to that problem. Innovation means change. As millennials growing up in the agency, we’re expected to be the source of fresh ideas and be open to change. We came back challenged to always ask “What if” and not think, dream, or ideate too small.
- Give a shit. The advertising world is full of tight deadlines, long hours, and impeccable creativity. But all of that is able to happen by giving a shit. Not just giving a shit about the work itself, but about your team and your leaders. Leading, not managing. Showing, not telling. Rolling up your sleeves, getting dirty, collaborating, picking up the slack, and wrenching all of the knowledge and inspiration that you can out of your peers. At Big, we give a shit. And this industry gives a shit. It was obvious through the friends we made at Innovation Camp. That keeps us inspired for the direction that the industry is taking, and we’re glad our peers are always molding us to be more innovative, more creative, and more caring along the way.