The Internationalist names Jim Russell 2012 Innovator
Chief Innovation Officer Jim Russell was named a 2012 Innovator by The Internationalist magazine last evening at an awards banquet in New York sponsored by the BBC World News, the Financial Times and Publicitas North America. Every year since 2006, The Internationalist has named agency executives who have the rare ability to rethink current notions of brand building by simplifying complex internal processes, encouraging collaboration, managing risk while working in the midst of fast change, keeping “the big idea” in sight and involving customers directly in the creative process.
Earlier in the day, Jim attended the magazine’s Conceiving Innovation conference where he served on the “What’s Next” panel moderated by Paul Woolmington, a founding partner of Naked Communications and now an angel investor and communications entrepreneur. Paul praised McKinney as “an amazing agency” and asked Jim to weigh in on a variety of topics covering mobile marketing, “elegantly simple” digital innovation and consumable content.
“What interests me most is how we so often defer to talking about technology, when what it all boils down to is our feeling loved and important,” mused Jim. “But I always have my technology hat on and I think, ‘There is so much cool shit out there, so many tools to play with.’ So at the end of the day, it’s about bringing brands into peoples’ lives in real cool ways.” Jim talked about the McKinney Ten Percent, the initiative that encourages employees to spend 10 percent of their time on innovation. He also mentioned Red Square Ventures, a McKinney-inspired incubator that has led to participation in several startups. “Both the McKinney Ten Percent and Red Square Ventures are great people motivators, recruiting tools and ways for our talent to enjoy what it’s like to work in a startup culture versus an agency culture. It’s aggressive, it requires new ways of thinking and working, and that’s good for both our clients and the agency.”