The Innovation Journey

Our mission to become brand experience trailblazers is key to the remodelling of iD – an agency where courage and invention have been well established for almost 30 years, challenging work and development.

With that being said, innovation doesn’t come easily. It requires a huge effort to rise above the day to day schedules, the difficulty being finding the physical time and mental space to challenge the way we work. We knew that to continue delivering as the agency that dares to experiment and defy the norm, a complete overhaul was in order to nurture a new approach to every aspect of our work.

Step 1 – find the time. By being more selective about the clients we are working with, we can divert more time to developing talent, expertise, innovation and research. Seems straightforward enough.

Step 2 – changing the way we think about how we work and the industries we target as an agency. This is more challenging…

We looked to our friend and entrepreneur, Matthew Cushen, for guidance and support throughout these changes. He’s a director of Uprising, an innovation consultancy and has knowledge of iD from the grassroots – his spare bedroom was the birthplace of the agency all those years ago. 

Matt’s consultancy helped the leadership teams of some of the most recognisable companies across the globe, including IKEA, Waitrose, SABMiller and Tesco.

So how are we going to cultivate innovation in someone who is more logic orientated? Matt held regular innovation breakfasts at iD. Throughout the sessions, Matt showed us that everyone can be creative.

The key would be to rediscover the creativity we all had in our early childhood – taking calculated risks and injecting a whole load of relentless curiosity – something I have in abundance! I found there was hope for me yet. I learned that unless we are constantly striving for insight in new and unexpected places, we are never going to be able to innovate effectively.

Our journey started by exploring our ‘rivers of thinking’ and asking us to challenge what and why we do things the way we do. We explored two different ways of thinking – Expansive versus reductive and how to effectively signal how we want people to be (and with which way of thinking) in any situation.  We were taught how to Suspend reaction,

Understand and Nurture ideas – or ‘S.U.N.’ – as a way of encouraging expansive thinking rather than our more usual reductive approach. It is, after all, only when S.U.N. is shining that we find the value in and build ideas. Once we mastered these behaviours, we created some processes to allow for successful idea generation.

Our New Home

Like training any muscle, a change of behaviour calls for regular exercise, and it’s only with the innovation team leading from the front that we have been able to encourage this behaviour and ensure this runs right throughout our agency. As well as a change of language and behaviour, we have made many physical changes to our office space, allowing our new culture to breed. We now have well-signalled meetings in an environment that matches the tone of the meeting, which create efficiency and ensures no idea is left stifled. Anyone who doesn’t play by the rules gets shown a yellow and then red card! We’ve even added ‘walk’ to our meeting locations in outlook to encourage expansive meetings to take place standing up in the fresh air, a perfect setting for generating ideas beyond the normal scope.


The innovation training has taught me that not only can I be creative but innovative too. Looking for simpler and more efficient ways to do things is equally as important as generating new ideas, and everyone can use these practices in not only their work but in their life outside of iD. 

As an agency, we are having more interesting conversations, looking at things from a different perspective and learning about the world along the way. Our mission? To continue to be bold, inventive, and relentlessly curious for the benefit of our clients and business. In doing this, others will follow.

Vicky Whiteley
Senior Account Director