Four lessons from Mullen’s first Chief Innovation Officer

edwardbochesBack in June 2009, Edward Boches became the first Chief Innovation Officer at Mullen, a Boston-based ad agency that works with household names like JetBlue, Adidas, Google, and Zappos. Immediately, like every new CINO, he set about figuring out how he could have the most impact. (Worth a read is his post on that topic, “What does it mean to be a chief innovation officer?“)

We asked Boches to distill a few of the lessons he learned; he’d previously been the agency’s Chief Creative Officer, reporting to CEO. When he shifted over to the CINO role, he still reported to the CEO, Joe Grimaldi.

Cajole & inspire. “My initial objective was to get the company to pull its head out of its ass with regard to digital and social media, encouraging people to use Twitter, and trying to inspire people to get inventive with new platforms. We needed to make sure we had a leadership perspective on what these things could do for our clients.” His team created Brand Bowl, a way to capture the public opinion expressed on Twitter about Super Bowl ads. He circulated experiments like the music video that Google made with the band Arcade Fire, to get the agency’s creatives to “understand what was possible with these new technologies.”

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