Felix Koch is Joint Managing Director of C Space, EMEA, and founder of SHAPE.
The Omnicom Group is recognized as one of the world’s largest, most respected marketing and communications companies. It employs more than 74,000 people around the world. Together, they work for 5,000 clients in more than 100 countries.
But Omnicom is more than the numbers you find in its boilerplate description. The company spins on an axis of diversity, creativity, and talent. Its 74,000 employees are individual people with unique perspectives – each with different ideas and experiences working on a variety of client projects. The ways of approaching the work are as varied as the work itself.
But how do you bring diverse minds from different agencies together to accomplish a single goal?
That’s exactly what SHAPE does. It’s an invite-only online program and online platform where hundreds of diverse thinkers from across the Omnicom network collaborate to solve some of the trickiest challenges faced by the world’s most influential companies.
Selected from a pool of the best talent from dozens of Omnicom’s global agencies, SHAPE hosts (among others) creatives, designers, planners, account execs, PR gurus, researchers, advertisers, and innovators. Together, they have three weeks to collaborate on a client challenge, drawing from their own experiences and expertise to build, stretch, and develop powerful ideas.
Challenges range in scope and complexity. Anything from “How can our retail brand stand out against the hyper-competitive clamor of Black Friday advertising?” to “How can we evolve our 100-year-old beer brand to be relevant with Millennials?” No question is too big or too complex to tackle.
At the end of three weeks, the best and brightest ideas are stretched even further by the SHAPE team and delivered to the client in the form of Starter Cards. These become the focal point of an in-person SHAPE Session with brand stakeholders, agency leads, and the SHAPE team to kick-start fresh ways of thinking, generate buy in, and spark breakthrough ideas.
Since its November 2014 inception, SHAPE has been used to collaborate with the world’s best-known brands, including AirBnB, Pfizer, VISA, LG, and many more.
I co-founded SHAPE with C Space EMEA’s Graham Foulds, Head of Open Innovation, and Tayo Medupin, Senior Innovation Consultant. In addition, a whole host of talented people from across the C Space EMEA business support the program.
SHAPE takes what C Space does so well as a global agency and applies the same level of collaboration and interaction to a broader context across Omnicom agencies. Creating growth by bringing customers, employees, and experts to bear on clients’ trickiest challenges is in our DNA, and SHAPE is a natural extension of this. SHAPE is also an exciting new way for brands to work with the best of the Omnicom talent and an innovative new method for open innovation with a 21st century workforce.
In an interconnected marketplace, embracing diverse thinking makes businesses and people better. SHAPE is exciting proof of this, paving the way for the future of collaboration, and showcasing the big, brilliant things we can accomplish when we work together.