Project Isaac Winners: Best Practices

Management

Putting an Agency to The Test

Moonshot Innovation Lab

If you happen to walk past ad shop Barkley in Kansas City, Mo., you might notice it has set up a rocket ship on the roof. That's more than just a gimmick. Committed to integrating the latest technology with the smartest ad ideas, Barkley fires up the creativity of its own employees by putting them through what it calls the Moonshot Innovation Lab. A "hackathon" in which employees go from brief to finished product in one week, the immersive group experience has produced a range of ideas that include a bicycle-powered video game and a vending machine that dispenses free samples in exchange for Facebook likes. Moonshot not only has resulted in patent applications but also has achieved stratospheric results in new business and recruitment.

Research

Heading Off The Ad-Claims Police

Risk AD*Vantage

With marketers tapping out claims in social-media posts and tweets, who's making sure what they’re writing won’t get them slapped with an FTC fine? Responding to a clear need for advertisers, millennial marketer Kat Hennessy developed Risk AD*Vantage, a software package that instantly reviews ad claims and assigns them a risk percentage, allowing marketers to steer clear of language that’s likely to get them in legal hot water. Just imagine: Sound legal advice without actually having to talk to a lawyer.

Human Resources

Agency Wants Employees to Get Happy

Inspire Happiness Course

Global media agency MEC hit upon a sobering if not entirely surprising discovery for any manager: Miserable workers don't produce much. The solution? Learning happiness. So GroupM’s MEC, whose clients include AT&T, Marriott and Citi and which employs more than 4,000 people worldwide, instituted the Inspire Happiness course. Six weeks of workshops led by executive coach Helen Mumford Sole schooled staffers in how to approach their jobs with a smile. The result of the pilot program, which included 20 U.S. staffers of MEC starting last September: Encouraging veteran employees to forge closer relationships with junior people increased job satisfaction among each group. As MEC CEO North America Marla Kaplowitz puts it, "Focusing on our talent’s overall happiness will help improve productivity both in and out of the office, which in turn will positively impact the overall agency’s success."

Public Relations

A Life Saver of an Idea

Save-a-Life Simulator

Thousands of Americans suffer sudden cardiac arrest every day—and most passersby don't know how to help. Convinced that the Web offers a better alternative to those old videos of people blowing in the mouths of rubber dummies, the HeartRescue Project created the Save-a-Life Simulator, an interactive, click-through video that teaches the basics for keeping a heart attack victim alive long enough for paramedics to arrive. Designed to be sharable via social media, the video has already been viewed by thousands of people around the world.

Mentoring

GE's Lightbulb Moment

The GE Incubator

There's no shortage of nervy entrepreneurs with ideas out there, but as a global brand like General Electric knows all too well, all the innovation in the world won’t amount to anything without the mentorship and resources to bring it to market. In partnership with OMD, GE created a startup incubator, a 10-week program that walked 16 young entrepreneurs through the launch of seven enterprises, from concept to finished product. The program not only supported what was dubbed "the next generation of digital talent" but also served as a bridge between young talent and the business establishment, enriching both sides by fostering open dialogue. An added incentive: a $10,000 cash prize to the most-developed startup idea.