Control Is An Illusion Kept Alive By Ego

I think we all know people who hold too closely to ideas they consider their own. Ideas become like babies to these people, and babies need protecting.
Barry Lowenthal of The Media Kitchen thinks it’s a mistake, particularly for agencies, to behave this way.

When people hoard information, they immediately limit the potential for idea generation. If, say, only two people have access to data, they become the only two with the opportunity to build ideas from it. But if a thousand people can see it, the likelihood that a brilliant idea will result is exponentially increased. Today, it’s extraordinarily easy to give access to that many people and more — so why shouldn’t we?
There are still people within organizations that limit access to information and, presumably, they believe that such limiting affords them a measure of power. That game is sadly common in companies that motivate through fear. In my view, such places will be short-lived; the power and influence of social media will destroy them.

I love Lowenthal’s position here, but I’m not sure “the power and influence of social media” is going to destroy the time-honored practice of acting defensively. When you hoard information it’s because you think it will improve your standing in the company. Social media might be a shining counter example of how things can be, but people wrapped up in schemes and conniving are none too interested in social media or new ways of doing things.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.