Hire Different & Give Space: Nicole Yershon’s Advice For Creating ‘Intrepreneurs’

Nicole Yershon
For the more successful organizations, especially in the marketing, advertising and media domain, the most important asset are its people. While businesses realize this, there can be a gap on how this manifests in the workplace in equipping people to deliver the best. Innovation Expert Nicole Yershon,  put the situation in a much simpler context with the theory of the ‘intrepreneur’.

From her session at the Dubai Lynx International Festival of Creativity, the definition of an intrepreneur can be simply understood as innovation of an entrepreneurial mindset meeting professionals in a business set up, leading to a culture that is geared up to think new and different. Diversity is an important part of that equation.

A large part of Ms Yershon’s views comes from her 16 years of experience that also includes founding Ogilvy Worldwide’s innovation unit, Ogilvy Labs. Even though Ogilvy took the decision to shut down the Lab last year, much of its learnings had benefited the agency in various aspects.

Speaking more on the Lab, Ms Yershon said, “It was an entrepreneurial unit within a large company. We had only four staff. It was not easy to educate and inspire the 1800 people across the group to innovate. When I was hired, I realized that if we are looking for change, we must hire different and allow the person to breathe and grow beyond just presentations.”

Culture and diversity, two critical areas for companies more so in changing times, were key on the Lab’s agenda. Ogilvy Lab had launched the ‘Rough Diamond’ program, which was a collaboration with the Ideas Foundation, School of Communication Arts, Ravensbourne University, Onedotzero and The Marketing Academy, seeking talent that may not have made it through traditional recruitment channels.

“If we are talking about a mobile app, we need people who will say ‘here it is’. But the people coming out of the schools in the traditional sense were not able to do that. We had to go outside of that realm. Rough Diamond was a collaboration between disruptors and innovators in educational learning. The whole point of it is to try and diversify the recruiting department and the business as a whole,” she explained.

The logic behind the program is sound for businesses today too. To create a company, the industry needs to push its own horizons which includes its talent.

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