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Fact Trumps Fiction

A Word of Advice from Ideo's Bennett

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Broke bread with Paul Bennett of Ideo. This is a company better known in the U.K. and on the west coast, and sometimes pigeonholed as a design consultancy. In reality, Ideo is made up of exceptionally bright thinkers trying to come up with truly innovative consumer experiences (read Teressa Iezzi's fall 2006 interview with Paul here.) Sorry if that sounds too rah-rah, but I'm not alone in singing their praises, and these guys have some great case studies to back it up.

Ideo has U.S. offices in San Francisco, Palo Alto, Chicago and Boston, and Paul is now setting up shop in New York. We talked a lot about what it will take for traditional agencies to succeed in today's marketplace, and Paul mentioned something a client once said to him. I've taken the liberty of re-framing the comment as a question that every agency CEO should ask about his/her organization:

Are you in the business of seeking truth and telling it, or of creating a myth and selling it?

Cutesy? Perhaps, but it instantly resonated with me as a pithy summary of a bigger debate. And, c'mon, if most agency leaders had to honestly answer the question, it might reveal a truth the industry would rather avoid.

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