The Race To The Middle
Creative agencies are evolving to be more like management consultants. Management consultants are becoming more creative. Both are trying to solve business problems and are racing to the middle. In my mind the intersect point is experience design and innovation. Beyond this point, you start competing where the other is an expert.
Research techniques, proven models and analytics are part of the management consultant’s DNA. They can streamline a business and deliver enhanced efficiencies. Creative agencies offer freshness, are less reliant on past data and would be more inclined to innovate. They can offer disruption and deliver big ideas.
If the race is to get to the middle, then agencies may have the advantage.
Creative thinking is a skill that is nurtured through culture and training. It cannot be synthetically reproduced via a methodology or a process. Consulting firms may find it hard to replicate – or do they? As they say, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em! Just recently, IBM acquired digital creative agency Resource/Ammirati in an effort to bolster their creative output. Deloitte Digital has also been quite quick to grow from management consulting into digital & creative agency territory.
In the end, there is a need for both management consultants and agencies. Clients need to be efficient to compete today and need new ideas to compete tomorrow. The key to the success of each is hiring the right talent, with the right skills to drive their clients business forward.
We know that this race started to chase new revenue, but it will end as a chase for the best people. Perhaps a more collaborative approach between the two is what’s needed to really win.