US ad agency mogul highlights open innovation to drive startup success


This is a guest post authored by “Tex” Pomeroy. He is a Tokyo-based writer specializing in ICT and high technology.

R/GA Global COO Stephen Plumlee (right) speaks with his moderator Dentsu Ventures’ Katsuyuki Hasegawa.

This is part of our coverage of The Bridge Fes 2016.
Our Japanese article covering this session is available here.

Stephen Plumlee, Chief Operating Officer of R/GA Media Group based in New York, held a special session on “Open Innovation” on the collaborative activities his firm provides to help startups succeed. Open Innovation is aimed at enhancing innovation by leveraging the synergy produced by the sharing of assets like human resources, networking, know-how, and intellectual property portfolios, among others.

Plumlee outlined R/GA’s strategy to drive their plan by exploiting the power of Open Innovation on the client’s behalf. It entails the gathering of tech prowess and acquiring a good grasp of the innovation process.

One example provided by Plumlee was R/GA’s joint work with TechStars, which as a result now has a thorough understanding on the Internet of Things (IoT), upon initially setting up two Accelerator Programs on sensor network projects and related IoT. R/GA then leveraged the Los Angeles Dodgers network to launch a sport-tech Accelerator Program for content-related activities. This was followed by another Accelerator Program with Metro AG in Germany for innovation involving enhancement of business in the food and hospitality field.

Plumlee explained that in addition to evaluating the success of their programs, the metrics of being able to delve deeper into the respective tech space and of applying such knowledge to R/GA’s core business were adopted. This strategy covers consulting for clients among other services. He underscored the need to clarify the strategies and the business goals of the participants to attain success for the programs.

It was also noted that the lineup and scale of the programs will double this year and that R/GA plans to open an office in Tokyo in 2016.

Los Angeles Dodgers Accelerator with R/GA – Image credit: Los Angeles Dodgers Accelerator