Today, we were honored by our inclusion in AdAge Magazine’s Creativity 50, which spotlights the the year’s most influential and creative thinkers and doers. It got us talking about the future of “the web” and how product development is changing.
The Internet of Things has established itself and it’s ushering in the era of holistic, programmable, and responsive experiences. We’re moving past smart products to integrated products and integrated customer experiences. Not just in browsers or mobile devices, but everywhere. We are taking the Internet of things, putting it in place, and creating new context. Leaders are disrupting their industries by leveraging technology to develop wholly new services that integrate web experiences into the bricks and mortar.
Now that the availability of open source systems, sensors, ubiquitous hardware, and interactive displays has enabled new digital experiences in the real world, there needs to be a new type of services company that understands how to develop new business models, map them to consumer behaviors, bring them together with beautiful interfaces, and integrate them with core business systems. But… who does that?!
Who would you ask to connect the disparate retail systems of brick and mortar, e-commerce, and mobile into an omni-channel experience? Who could you talk to about using passive technology and big data to activate customers? Who would you call if you wanted to launch a new integrated product? An ad agency? Your IT team? One of the big consultancies? A product vendor? Ghostbusters?
The ad agency would come up with some amazing concepts, moving story, and beautiful visuals, but to make a production-ready product they’d need to pull in a bunch of contractors who are used to making marketing one-offs. Sexy? Probaby. But would it be scaleable or integrated?
The IT team? They’d plan to make it robust and integrated, but they’re resource strapped, encumbered by legacy systems, and lack the innovation practice to develop end-to-end products and experiences that customers clamber for.
The Big Consultancy would come with industry research and business models. But get out your checkbook, get comfortable, wait a year, and be ready for something thoroughly logical, predictable and lacking any and all sex appeal.
The search for your new product or experience in a box is hopeless. If you’re buying off-the-shelf, you’re getting 3+ year old technology made for someone else that’s available to your competitors. Brand experience is not a commodity. Technology is a competitive advantage again.
There is a new kind of innovation company emerging that uses technology to create new digital products and experiences in the real world. Some are being sprouted from agencies and some are hacker-maker shops. Smaller agencies like Odopod (now part of Nurun) are focusing on innovation. Traditional atom based product companies like IDEO are testing the waters. Even architects like Rockwell are creating labs to try their hand in this new segment. But here’s the deal: We love what they do, they all take on pieces, but we have yet to see anyone pull it all together and make it scale.
At Control Group we’ve brought the entrepreneurial B-Schoolers, the ones that launched startups instead of settling down into finance, together with pragmatic hackers from tech-arts discipline, the ones who wanted to make something lasting and with more reach than you can get in a New York gallery. We brought the systems engineers, who embraced the cloud and automation and avoided the trap of big IT enterprise, together with the ad agency creatives who wanted to design something beautiful, but something with greater purpose than banners, micro-sites, and marketing stunts. We put this mix of creative, business-focused technologists in an open room and challenge them every day to collaborate to solve challenges and create breakthrough solutions. It’s exciting to witness the birth of this new organization.
There has never been a time where an agency like this could exist, where in a tight knit group, the skills, experience, and tools– the ingredients to make amazing immersive, business transformational products– could be found in one place. With a sharp innovation and prototype process that ensures the successful development and iteration of products and experiences, we are set to help bring about this next wave of the co-evolution of humans and technology.
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