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  • Writer's pictureBill Hollingsworth

The Children of the Revolution.

“We are in the Fourth Industrial Revolution” said Paul Rellis, former COO of Operations and Marketing, Microsoft Western Europe, speaking at the RDS Economic Vision 2020 Seminar earlier this month, about how digital technology and innovation has disrupted the old business models. In many ways I’m surprised he had to say it - it will be obvious to all but the stumbling behemoths from the last Age - and yet it is a change that, like shifting sands, has happened so gradually and that we have become part of so willingly, that we may need to step back to observe.

In retrospect, this Digital Age disrupted the way we all work. A dozen years ago full service agencies were the thing (and for certain clients there is still a place for them). A one-stop-shop businesses could go to, to get all their marketing needs. The agency could offer everything, planning, marketing, creative services… And anything they couldn’t offer in-house they became a conduit for, while still controlling the relationship between client and suppliers. That was fine when those third party suppliers were few and straightforward - a small number of TV production companies, recording studios, illustrators, photographers… But the disruption of digital and open source computing changed all that. Quickly there were all number of specialists, all able to work remotely. There became so many of them, and their requirements so sporadic, that it didn’t make sense for organisations to keep them on their books. This was reflected throughout the creative industry. The big fish, such as large TV production companies, found smaller players nipping at their heels. It also was noticeable, particularly over the last five years or so, that more and more businesses were going directly to photographers, recording studios, etc. These were companies that had their own business and marketing plans - they just needed the right people to bring those plans to life.

That’s the offering OystercatcherTF has been successfully bringing to clients since Taking Flight last year. Clients who know what they want, but do not have the time, the niche skills or the network of specialists to make tangible their marketing plans and ideas. It is a business model that is becoming the norm. Right now I work in an old industrial building, in a creative co-working space in Dublin, The Tara Building, surrounded by people working to this new industry model - a group of the most motivated, talented, diverse, self starters I have ever worked amongst. We are the children of this Fourth Industrial Revolution - specialists who work with other specialists as required, putting together truly lean and agile teams tailored for clients or for specific client projects.

The creative industry has come a long way in a very short while.  Who know’s where it will go? Still, the only constant is change. In the Tara Building, the writing is on the floor: 



Look down. Feel the pleasure of the shifting sands between your toes. Feel the ocean of change wash around you. An ocean of which we are only on the edge.

(First published October 2017)

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