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The IPA launches its own tech innovation scheme

Monday 15 June 2015 saw the launch of London Tech Week, and the IPA took full advantage of this auspicious occasion by launching our own new tech innovation agenda, details of which can be found here.

Nigel Gwilliam

We are seeking to facilitate and accelerate agencies' understanding in the tech innovation space and act as a smart conduit to the flourishing start-up communities in London and around the UK.

To kick off our founding partnership with Tech London Advocates' Creative Tech working party we brought together start-ups, scale ups, incubators and agencies at The Trampery on Old Street. Start-up places were hugely oversubscribed and there was a real buzz in the room.

It's clear that there is a tremendous opportunity for a mutually beneficial relationship between tech innovators and brands. But there are challenges too. It's obvious when you think about it, but there are huge differences between the two sides when judged against almost every criteria: cultural, financial, and chronological, to name but a few.

The risk is that, without smart intermediaries and facilitators, the two sides will become frustrated and disenfranchised before the potential is fulfilled. It was clear from our event that a lack of understanding of the other side is already causing some consternation.

Happily, it was also clear that some of the solutions are neither complex nor difficult to implement. For example, despite the technology-centric nature of discussions, the human dynamic is an essential consideration. Start-ups, needing to appreciate quite how time-poor agencies are, must apply a degree of tenacity. Conversely, agencies need to treat start-ups with good manners; communicating decisions, even when they are negative, is vastly favourable to radio silence in the eyes of start-ups.

Lessons like these show how we can add value. Our next steps, with the help of incubators and accelerators, will be to gather start-ups and appropriate agency personnel around specific areas of collaboration.

We need to help educate start-ups on the agency landscape so they target the right people with their pitches. We also want to showcase to agencies the success stories from their peer group - the agencies that are not just showcasing new tech but actually developing deep and meaningful relationships with the start-up community.

By Nigel Gwilliam, IPA Consultant Head of Media & Emerging Tech

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