Tuesday, October 09, 2012

2 masterminds in "Creative Engines" share insights on innovation

Monday night, I had the chance to see and hear two creative masterminds in conversation focusing on innovation and creativity.

  • Sergio Marchionne is chairman and CEO of Chrysler Group LLC and CEO of Fiat S.p.A.  Marchionne is credited with turning Chrysler Group and Fiat around.
  • John Jay, a Columbus native and Ohio State alum, is co-global creative director for advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy, the agency that developed the “Imported from Detroit” Super Bowl ad campaigns for Chrysler that made a worldwide splash.

In this event, Marchionne and Jay met each other personally for the first time – then discussed topics that included the powerful impact of innovative design and bold creative practice on successful businesses and, by extension, the American economy, as well as the complex and challenging process of reshaping a brand, and more.

Here are a few highlights from my personal notes:

“Talk is cheap, except in a 2-minute commercial during halftime of the Super Bowl.”

“We used a composer in Portland for the music track; now she’s a punk artist.”

“Clint first said he’d do the commercial but didn’t want to show any cars.  I told him I sold cars for a living.”

“In 2009, no one bet a dollar on our survival.”

“I challenged our organization to launch 16 new products, that now account for 75% of our sales.  We’ve paid back the government loans, with interest, 6 years ahead of schedule.”

“We tapped into the mindset of the country.  If Chrysler could do it, so could I.”

“Our leadership model requires two things:  lead change and lead people.”

From Eminem song, Lose Yourself:

Look, if you had one shot, one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted
One moment
Would you capture it or just let it slip?

Marchionne joined Fiat in 2004, returning it to profitability in 2005 after four straight years of losses, and spearheaded Fiat’s strategic alliance with Chrysler in 2009 with the support of U.S. and Canadian government and trade unions. A little over two years later, following its emergence from Chapter 11, Chrysler Group returned to profitability; in June of this year, sales were up 20 percent from the previous year.

This event is presented in conjunction with the 200Columbus bicentennial celebrations, honoring the creative spirit of Columbus. It is also the final event in the eight-day idUS international design festival, taking place in Columbus in October.

In conjunction with the event, 3 cars were parked in front of the Wexner Center Plaza:   the Chrysler 200S Convertible, the Dodge Dart Limited, and the Fiat 500.

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