Iain Tait, Free-Range Idea Farmer

You may have heard, Iain Tait is leaving Poke/London for Wieden+Kennedy/Portland. In his new position Tait will be top digital dog at an agency reared on TV, and one that’s been slow to pick up the digital ball.
If this article by Tait in New Media Age is any indication, he wants to bring new ways of working on ideas to the global super shop.

If we want to create provocative, challenging and culturally relevant digital work, we need to smash the hen-house and go free-range. We need to embrace the un-team and the un-process. We need to borrow from the places where real innovation is occurring: the world of hack-days, collaboration, open-sourcing, ring-fenced R&D time and incubators. Clinging to outdated idea-farming methods just because they’re reliable and predictable is a surefire route to extinction.

The “hen house” is Tait’s metaphor for the place where copywriters and art directors lay their golden eggs. His argument is that you can’t just bring technologists into this sacrosanct area without a dust up. Instead, you need to draw the hens out from the comforts of their coop and show them the expansiveness of the entire farm.
It’ll be interesting to see how far Tait gets with some of the most entrenched “hens” in the business.



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.