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DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION STARTING FROM THE TOP: Dentsu Jayme Syfu’s Silicon Valley Immersion

MANILA – Dentsu Jayme Syfu believes that 2017 is the year of total transformation. It ushered the new year with organizational changes, simplified internal processes, redefined roles and responsibilities and hiring people with unconventional skills. It was the first Philippine agency to engage a Chief Experience Officer. With creativity and technology at its core, it equipped itself with its own robotics team creating the first mechanical receptionist.

The biggest mission was to bring total digital transformation to the agency that recently went through an integration of two different agency cultures.

Chairmom Merlee Jayme explained the plan to achieve this, “When Carlo Ople, our Chief Digital Officer then, went through a digital immersion in Silicon Valley last year, he described the experience to be inspiring and the “start-up culture” to be infectious. We thought maybe if we get our agency leaders to fully internalize this 100%, it would be easier to spread this culture to our people and clients. With his help, we were able to visit the six best digital places on earth.”


The management team first visited Twitter’s new headquarters in San Francisco. Its amazing 1937 Art Deco building stands tall in the midst of the gritty tenderloin district of the city. The #lovetheplaceyouworkin was lit on the wall. One can’t help but feel warm and cozy with interiors designed with natural wood, tree branches, and hashtag signage everywhere. There was a beautiful rooftop garden where tweeps gather for some barbecues and beers and this weird game of Twitter Cornhole. The office had an amazing room with huge screens where all the tweets in the world was projected. The bigger tweets were the trending ones. Of course, Trump’s tweets ruled that week.

At the heart of the city near the Ferry building, was where the Salesforce offices were located. Dentsu Digit’s Executive Creative Director Jerry Hizon observed that Salesforce currently had three buildings (with another one under construction). “Being in the world’s most expensive real estate market, it must be one of the most profitable companies. Nobody knew Salesforce’ business before we visited. But when Eddie Cliff, the company’s Senior Product Manager-Social Customer service gave us a talk about their business, I gathered that they were all about enterprise, with B2B customer management software as its main service. It was very profitable indeed”, he mused.

On a rainy day, the team visited the world-renowned Facebook Campus in Menlo Park.

Pao Peña, Dentsu Digit’s Chief Experience Officer found Mark Zuckerberg’s new grounds impressive. He described it as a campus “designed with the engineer as the key creative talent at the heart and center of the office experience. Making the office as engaging as a university complex and providing employee services that range from bike repairs to free laundry take out barriers that could prevent the creative, the engineer, from doing their best work. Similar to a theme park, the office was designed in such a way that everyone feels at home”, he said.

Lunch time in the campus was an experience to remember as shared by Executive Creative Director Rey Tiempo “We were having lunch in Facebook HQ, in one of their huge dining halls (with separate areas for different types of cuisine), and I was secretly spazzing. It’s not every day that you get the chance to share tables with some of the most brilliant engineers and thinkers in the world. The next world-changing idea could literally be brewing right next to you, while you’re enjoying the free coffee.”

The team was warmly greeted in Googleplex in Mountain View with their agency name printed on the conference room’s door. Chocolate lollipops with their logo, free Google Chromecasts and other gifts were personally given to each team member. Diday Alcudia, the Chief Strategic Planner couldn’t help but be inspired by Google’s mission to organize the world’s information. “But a trip to their HQ in Mountain View reveals much more than that. It’s also about organizing people’s lives through Google apps for work etc. And it’s also about making people experience technology in new ways. It was about videos (YT), AI and Machine Learning, actual products where people can experience tech and incorporate them into their daily lives – Google Home, Chromecast, VR, Tango, Self-Driving cars!”.


The other stops were the Apple Infinite Loop in Cupertino and the Linked In HQ in Mountain View.

Across these cool offices, the group had great learnings on the upcoming trends for 2017 and the different cultures that drive each office to success year after year.

Chief Technologist JR Ignacio shared his key takeaway from the trip, “Personal passion aligned with company interests can build a lot of great things. Gmail, AdSense, Google Maps, to name a few came from Google’s “20% time.” Facebook’s Like button, Chat (now Messenger), Timeline, Live, Safety Check were born at their internal hackathons.

They all started as personal ideas. However, they came into existence because the companies created an environment that encourages people to think, learn, share ideas, band together and build things. They were able to channel their employees’ passions into something great and world changing.”

After the trip, Tiempo contemplated on his learnings as the “the refusal to grow up, because it makes you endlessly open to new tech. Also, to bring back the feeling of wonder in tech – to our clients and even to fellow agency people, who are starting to think tech is scary. It shouldn’t be, if you really think about it. It’s designed to help us, so we should be the ones molding it and controlling it, not the other way around. 

For Ronald Barreiro, the agency’s General Manager, he noticed that a strong company culture actually fuels the innovative ideas that stem from its main resource, its people.

Shaking his head in amazement, he mentioned Google’s outrageous employee benefits including simple thank you/good job notes from company heads. “Google makes it a point to encourage transparency, team collaboration and positive reinforcement to push its people to challenge the norm and dare to create the next big thing. This transparent, collaborative and norm-busting culture has enabled the company to reinvent itself from being a search engine tool to an indispensable daily companion of modern day humans”.

This Geek escape truly opened the eyes and minds of these agency leaders. They learned firsthand how these companies became great in the world–from developing the culture to improving employee benefits. Indeed, this was best way to surely fire up Dentsu Jayme Syfu’s services on creativity and technology at the beginning of the year.


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