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What does it mean to be Open Source by John Preston CEO Australia

Open Source to me is collaboration on steroids!
Back in the late 60’s Hanna-Barbera created a TV show called Shazzan! The series follows the adventures of two teenage siblings, Chuck and Nancy, traveling around a mystical Arabian world, mounted on Kaboobie the flying camel. During their journey they face several dangers, however they each have two halves of a ring which when brought together summons the aid of Shazzan, a giant genie with magical powers. Together they find a solution to escape the villains and continue on their adventures.
As individuals Chuck and Nancy were hopeless, but together with their magic rings and Shazzan, they worked together (collaboratively) much more powerfully. That gem created the long held belief in our previous incarnation (Match Media) that collaboration (which we termed ‘Do it Together’) is the key to unlock the potential of creating career defining ‘work that works’ to help our clients grow. It is a cornerstone of our agency’s values brought to life as depicted by the image below, part of a 6 metre mural proudly displayed in our office.




Saying you are collaborative and actually doing it are two very separate things. It has to be nurtured for it to become the fabric of an agency’s culture and for it to be authentic. Moreover, it has to be seen and respected by the partners you engage with in finding solutions for clients. That is why we are proud that our agency has one of the highest net promotor scores amongst the media owners and are seen by the media as the most transparent agency to deal with in Australia.
So collaboration has been a cornerstone of our success in Australia. As an independent becoming part of a multinational group, we were somewhat sceptical that it was possible to work outside of the walled garden of a group’s businesses, especially the scale of Publicis. Blue 449 and its mantra of Open Source thinking and method was a wonderful revelation. It demonstrates that we can genuinely cooperate with any individual or business that is fit for purpose to solve a client’s problem. Open Source to me is an injection of steroids that supercharges our already strong ethos of collaboration. For me, collaboration is elevated to Open Source, it becomes an all-encompassing behaviour and method rather than a value of the agency. It takes our approach to market to a whole new level. It is a powerful iteration and evolution that I am proud to be part of.
So my view on Open Source is simply this, in a world where the only constant is change, we have to embrace change and leverage it to our client’s advantage. We can’t possibly believe we have all the answers under one roof. We must seek out superb talent to come together to work on a client’s business challenge or consumer challenge. Creating a network of talent is made even more essential with the speed of tech advancements and the increasing sophistication of client data. It is crucial that we weave data and ideas together to find solutions for our clients businesses and fast.
The Open Source approach gives our people permission to think smarter, to work as a team, to co- create ideas and then find a solution through data and technology to deliver proof of performance to our clients business. We have to demsontrate that we have genuinely, positively impacted their business and helped them grow.
The best results come from when everyone around the table has respect and value the skills of our team, clients, external partners, unique talent and the media. We are all better together and we are always respectful, reliable, engaged and transparent in our dealings with each other. SHAZZAN!

  1. I like to think of open source as a “movement” typically created as a collaborative effort in which people improve upon the work and changes within the community sprouted as a response to proprietary software owned by corporations by it’s always great to hear the opinion of others about it.

    Posted by Duke Vukadinovic at 12:13 on 09.05.17

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