Learn to innovate from start-ups

Renny Gleeson

Wieden+Kennedy's Renny Gleeson says its Portland Incubator Experiment collaboration with start-ups offers both agencies and brands valuable lessons for innovation in a connected age.

A start-up is an organisation in a race for its life to innovate a value-generating customer proposition before the cash runs out. Start-ups test the health of legacy systems like viruses probing for weakness and opportunity.

While start-ups may have limited resources, underestimating them is a mistake: unencumbered by legacy organisational structures, risk-averse shareholders and existing customer relationships that inhibit dynamic decision-making, start-ups can pivot, or reinvent their business model faster than an ad agency can set up a meeting. This is why they should be interesting to agencies and brands: they are the disruptive variation our stagnated business ecosystems lack.