Art of Transition

June 22, 2009

By Lynne Roswall, VP and Director of Production @NYCA 

Transitioning an advertising agency into the fast-paced new media landscape is a little like becoming a new parent.  As with parenthood, one can never know what it is like until that fateful day when birth arrives– you can read about it, talk about it, gain some exposure through taking care of nieces /nephews, but it will never be like the real thing.  And it is irreversible.  One day you aren’t doing much in digital and then the very next day you are moving dozens of diverse digital features through production. 

Transitional experiences take guts and a little naivety.  Not able to rely on the ‘old standards’ means what is in front of you is uncharted territory.  Embracing possibility is something we creative entrepreneurs do naturally, and yet there is still struggle to get out of our own way.  For seasoned professionals to think with a beginner’s mind is a part of transition that’s both exciting and uncomfortable.   

The art of transition is facing those crevices of having no idea how to move forward – not for lack of smarts, talent, or inventiveness – but because it’s never been done.  Those who have an incessant need-to-know embrace becoming a beginner again, not being perfect and not having the answers.  The great thing we found is that prior experience – those faithful systems and experiences our folks had in their general market advertising careers – are critically important for solving problems in new media. It’s challenging to learn how to engage consumers in an ever-changing digital media landscape. But you have to start not with mechanical knowledge, but with great consumer engagement skills – period. The right mechanics are nothing without a create idea as a spinal cord. 

The art of transition lies in balancing the fever of exploration, development of a new business model and the acceptance that transition takes time.  We now tell expectant digital parents to enjoy the journey, bring what you have learned, rely on your successful core, be open to imperfection and just DO.