How Google ran off with my island in the Caribbean – Agile in advertising agencies

By August 16, 2012blog

I had a plan. After reading the 4-Hour Workweek, I decided to search for a niche, write a book about it, and get rich instantly.

I work in advertising. I think, eat and drink agile. Let’s write a book how to go agile all-the-way in advertising agencies. I was 5 minutes away of choosing which island in the Caribbean I would buy. A plan!

This blog was kind of the starting point, applying the philosophy of the LeanPub platform. (Thanks @YvesHanoulle for the hat tip)

But then…

Google came up with the exact same approach last week on and called it Agile Creativity. Bye bye palm trees, and thank you Google!


I could be happy. And actually I am. Because when Google starts evangelizing about Agile, it just gives us agilists extra tools to convince people (not only developers, stakeholders or managers) about its value.

Plus, Google is doing the same reasoning as I am. There are worse things in the world. And maybe I can even still write a book about it.

Agile Creativity?

Google lists up 7 agility tips to use in agencies.

  1. Physically (or Virtually) Co-Locate
  2. Add Technologists to the Creative Team
  3. Develop T-shaped Talent
  4. Get “Real-Time” Insights (the Minimum Viable Brief)
  5. Plan an Offsite “Idea-thon” (Hackaton Mode)
  6. Iterate and Test Campaigns (Campaign Prototyping)
  7. Partner on Pilot Projects (Beta Testing with Clients)

It’s pretty clear that Eric Ries’ book The Lean Startup has been an inspiration, as he coined the term “Minimum Viable Product”, as the most lightweight version of a product that can be shipped as soon as possible to the market.

This book is gaining much acclaim. It even had it’s own program on SXSW and is featured as the number one book in Jurgen Appelo’s Top 100 Agile Books edition 2012.

That Agile can be easily applied to Advertising is no rocket science. When you look at the Agile Manifesto, and replace “developing software” by “building brands” it’s pretty obvious:

We are uncovering better ways of developing
software by doing it and helping others do it.
Through this work we have come to value:

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan

That is, while there is value in the items on
the right, we value the items on the left more.


Either if you’re in advertising or software development, be sure to check out the Agile Creativity page, or watch the video below. Let’s hope this is the start of a fruitful relationship between these two worlds.

I’ll try to deepen this relationship in future posts, probably through the “7 dimensions of software projects” from @jurgenappelo, so stay tuned!


Actually there are a lot of mentions of Agile/Lean in relation to advertising, but they tend to focus more on metrics and KPI’s, instead of on people and their activities within advertising agencies:

This is a only a random selection out of my delicious bookmarks. If you know good books or articles that should be included, let me know in the comments below.