New York As An Innovation Center--Maybe.

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on May 6, 2008

Check out this great comment by Ross on my post saying that NYC is becoming a big innovation/design center. He argues that media/marketing is moving toward design in terms of designing better interactive experiences. Plus the line between product and marketing is blurring. So NYC is getting hotter in terms of design—but innovation comes from universities and that leads Ross to say that NYC isn’t that much of an innovative center. Hmm…

Here’s what Ross thinks:

May 6, 2008
The Big Apple is big on Design bizBruce Nussbaum asks if New York is the new innovation and design center. I say “Yes” to design hub, but no to NYC as an innovation center. Here’s why:

Big Design companies are focused in NYC
Advertising Age recently came out with their 2008 agency report, which has a list of the top 25 ad agencies by revenue.

Ad agencies are not design companies (yet), but the line between product and marketing is blurring rapidly, and at the same time, digital marketing is growing as an industry — in the double-digits. Some of the big shops out of NYC: BBDO, McCann Erickson, OgilvyOne, JWT — all with interactive arms.

And then as s Bruce points out, there are a sh*t-ton (yes, that’s a technical quantifiable term) of small but leading design firms moving to or newly focused in NYC (Jump, IDEO, Frog, fuseproject).

But Innovation comes from small shops elsewhere
It’s no secret recipe that innovation comes from areas with strong academic environments — learning hubs like Boston (MIT’s Media Lab, Harvard), Pittsburgh (Carneige Mellon U and the Entertainment Technology Center), or Chicago (Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology).

In fact, Pittsburgh is a great case study — Google opened up an office there because of the rich talent coming from Carnegie Mellon.

So yes, something is brewing in NYC — the ad/marketing industry is undergoing a transformational shit to a design-focus — and NYC has always been a hub for advertising.

And innovation can still be found where you might least expect it — the dark corner room with the jolt-cola fueled masters candidate. Ahh, I miss those days at the ETC.

Reader Comments

Rob Thompson

May 6, 2008 9:23 PM

This is really interesting since my firm, an industrial design firm located in atlanta, has recently been dealing with G2, the experiential marketing arm of Gray Global. We have been actively marketing ourselves to advertising and marketing companies in the Atlanta area as a result of the rich collaborative process that we have enjoyed with G2. It is flattering to think that we may be treading on the turf of some major players in this industry.

Aaron Keller

May 7, 2008 4:18 AM

Whoa, what are we talking about here? Silicon Valley for tech innovation, NYC for design innovation?

Hello from fly over country... beep, beep, beep, we're here. Hubs of innovation centered on academic hot spots makes sense, large cities naturally have a large number of design thinkers. Compared to a % of population would be more appropriate.

I heart NY too -- but design innovation may not have a footprint in any one city, but rather a collaborative network of design minded people. Location matters in retail, not necessarily in design.

Beep, beep, beep, signing out from Minneapolis.

Ravi Sawhney

May 8, 2008 7:32 PM

One could reasonably argue that there are levels of innovation and design that come from not only any where but every where. And... the most disruptive, mind blowing, emotionally charged relevant ones can come from where we least expect. Like a challenged niche computer company that changed our lives by entering the music business ! Back to Apple Again!!!

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Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.

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