This Unconventional Business Invention Firm Answers the Question ‘What Next?’

Inamoto & Co. counts Sotheby's, Toyota and Uniqlo among its clients

(L. to r.) Will Turnage, director, technology; Rei Inamoto, founding partner, design; Rem Reynolds, founding partner, strategy; Nathalie Torres, director, data.
Courtesy of Inamoto & Co.

When Rei Inamoto and Rem Reynolds launched Inamoto & Co. in February 2016, the shop didn’t fit in the existing nomenclature, so they called it a business invention firm, positioned “somewhere in between a consultancy, innovation firm and an agency,” explained Inamoto.

Early on, the pair decided to eschew traditional advertising to focus on clients’ customer experience, including launch client Uniqlo. “We help them identify what they should do next. We help them imagine, plan and construct the best-in-class customer experience online and off,” Inamoto added.

Inspired by famed Spanish restaurant elBulli’s model of alternating between a functioning restaurant and experimenting with new recipes, I&Co began with two full-time units: its client-facing business invention firm and a product incubation practice. And it’s clearly working: Last year, it added Asics and Sotheby’s to its client roster. But from the very start, I&Co was known for being able to answer the question “What next?”—like when Toyota approached it in 2016 asking how it could be relevant in 2025, leading to I&Co’s work in the Toyota Next initiative.

 

This story first appeared in the March 26, 2018, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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