27th February 2024

Where does innovation really come from?

Rory Sutherland on how agencies can get beyond the brief to be more creative and deliver greater value to clients.

Episode 1

Rory Sutherland

Vice Chairman, Ogilvy UK

In this episode, Robin is joined by acclaimed advertising guru Rory Sutherland. Known for his innovative thinking, particularly in applying principles of behavioural economics to advertising and consumer behaviour, he and Robin explore the barriers to innovation in modern agencies.

From accidental innovations like Viagra, to the value of inefficiency, as well as the alignment of briefs to organisational needs, rather than those of the consumer, this far-reaching conversation offers a wealth of inspiration for having a different kind of conversation with your clients.

They also share ideas on commercial innovation – like why agencies don’t adopt models from other industries, and how to avoid being hampered by a default to convention.

Rory also shares a powerful observation about annual reports that you can never unhear.

This is a fascinating perspective on the future of agencies and the cultural shifts required for meaningful progress.


02.18 Why advertising is like the 1920s fashion industry.

04.20 We only solve the problems we’re asked to solve.

06.08 Innovation happens in reverse.

06.52 Proactive creativity is seen as a cost.

09.54 The danger of AI in creative thinking.

13.38 Most problems aren’t clear until we try to solve them.

18:12 Why Cannes should be about buying ads not awarding them.

21.10 Most of the wealth of creativity is stolen by the advertising bureaucracy.

24.05 Agencies sell like bad estate agents.

26.10 We can’t innovate when we’re paid by the hour.

35.20 How media and creative agencies differ on entrepreneurialism.

38.25 Improving profit through ‘network effects’.

45.52 Reinventing incentives for innovation.

47.36 Why annual reports hamper Marketers.

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