ONE: Open Network Experience
An account of our international meeting
Each year, the heads of CBA agencies network meet for three days of work, discussion and idea-sharing. The 2019 edition was organized by our Italian office.
The name chosen for the event: “ONE, Open Network Experience”, encapsulates what makes our network unique, as well as the spirit in which we approached these three days of work.
In fact, the various CBA agencies have different backgrounds, work in different markets, with different clients, and over time have developed different skills and merits. Being able to open up and share ideas, experiments and innovative strategies is an effective way of turning the whole net more open, curious and flexible. The event provided days of intense and stimulating exchanges for CBA professionals from all over the world, gathered in Milan. Find below some highlights of the event:
An experimental branding approach
The Brazilian team told us about a recent study on companies that adopt experimental practices for management and innovation processes and the correlation of those practices with the companies’ economic growth. The study showed that branding, regarded as a force for change, should offer tools to support companies on these experiments, challenging the status quo and finding new ways to do business and innovate.
CBA B+G does this by combining strategy and execution in one integrated, fast and repeated process: trial, test, modify, test again and launch. By analyzing how companies work, CBA B+G identified five key factors that can guide the client to develop a more experimental, and therefore more successful, strategy: being open and willing to exchange information; empowering people to take risks and accept failures; creating solution prototypes to improve the learning process; directing resources to a more practical task execution and enabling a more personal experience of their mission.
The French team suggested a new approach that allows for a better understanding, from the inside, of how we can enhance our ability to impact clients through branding and design.
This is how Critical Imprint, a framework developed by CBA Paris, began. This approach emphasizes our relevance to the client by presenting a new perspective that aligns brands with an honest, positive and inclusive mission.
CBA in China
China is a huge nation that is developing at an amazing speed. However, according to Isabelle Pascal (CBA Shanghai) and Margaux Lhermitte (CBA Paris), who have been working and living in the country for years, China represents, in the first place, an extraordinary net of human relationships (关系 guanxì) that connects the Chinese people, cities and communities scattered around the world. This is why CBA in China represents a platform, a place and a way of working together to create business innovation and a positive impact. It is a network that connects those abroad that want to do business in China and, on the other end of the spectrum, those in China who wish to open up to the world. This has proved to be a winning formula, as we know that the concepts of collaboration and co-creation are embedded in the minds (or rather the hearts, 心 xin, the organ responsible for thought according to the traditional Chinese culture) of the Chinese people, who are now increasingly more aware of and sensitive to topics related to environmental sustainability.
New ways of collaborating
The US CBA team showed how it is possible to start adopting new working methods that are at the same time cheaper and less impacting to the environment, without giving up on the crucial benefits of co-design.
The result is the transformation of Design Sprint into Sprint Mode, a process adjustment that makes clients’ lives simpler. Remote co-design generates quicker decisive insights for decision-making, with no one feeling like they can’t express themselves. Moreover, with the right team of experts it is possible to reach solutions quicker. They also facilitate processes with tools developed internally, such as the Archetipe Game, an actual board game that, using a series of leading questions, allows clients to analyze in detail their present positioning.