Philippine News

The Innovation Dilemma

by Rea Gierran

MANILA – Dick Van Motman, CEO of Dentsu Aegis Southeast Asia, discusses an issue brought about the fast-paced growth of technology – the innovation dilemma.

Having been invited as a jury member in various events and award shows, he noticed that whenever we think about innovation, the first thing that comes to our mind is either digital or technology. “Instead of trying to solve everything through meaningful content and effective engagement, people from advertising immediately resort to technology.”


This is not to confuse Van Motman being cynical towards the power of advertising and innovation. The man has been in the industry for over 20 years. He explained that the reason why people idolize WhatsApp, Facebook, etc., is that they disrupt the existing value chain, a set of activities that an organization/company carries out to create value for its customers. It’s this same adoration towards these platforms that causes confusion – the reason why people associate innovation directly with technology.

Over the years, Van Motman says that what our industry does hasn’t changed. “We still create brands, we still do sales. What has massively changed is how we do things. We can be anywhere instantaneously. We can now be in the moment because of globalization, convergence and technology,” he says.

Van Motman finds it fascinating that in a world where people ought to do things differently, people are resistant to change. They box themselves into compartments because criticizing and confrontation now come easy.

In a world where globalization, convergence and technology are happening, efficiency and effectiveness became more important than ever before. “The focus on innovation should not be about technology. It should be about using anything available at the moment, to connect company with the people. To get engagement, to change skill sets, and how to operate in a world where you can be anywhere instantaneously 24/7,” he explained. He cites Oreo’s Superbowl tweet as an example. Van Motman sees it as more successful than any other 30-second commercial played, while using very little technology. “It’s Twitter that they got exposed to, it was the platform but the way the team behind Oreo worked together made the difference”.

Van Motman says that the real challenge is working in speed and value proposition. “We need to realize what we sell. You should always stay relevant; reinvent yourselves as speakers, and as a company. Being open-minded and adaptable is very important,” he concluded.

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