Bruce Nussbaum asks if New York is the new innovation and design center. I say “Yes” to design hub, but no to NYC as an innovation center. Here’s why:
Big Design companies are focused in NYC
Advertising Age recently came out with their 2008 agency report, which has a list of the top 25 ad agencies by revenue.
Ad agencies are not design companies (yet), but the line between product and marketing is blurring rapidly, and at the same time, digital marketing is growing as an industry — in the double-digits. Some of the big shops out of NYC: BBDO, McCann Erickson, OgilvyOne, JWT — all with interactive arms.
And then as s Bruce points out, there are a sh*t-ton (yes, that’s a technical quantifiable term) of small but leading design firms moving to or newly focused in NYC (Jump, IDEO, Frog, fuseproject).
But Innovation comes from small shops elsewhere
It’s no secret recipe that innovation comes from areas with strong academic environments — learning hubs like Boston (MIT’s Media Lab, Harvard), Pittsburgh (Carneige Mellon U and the Entertainment Technology Center), or Chicago (Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology).
In fact, Pittsburgh is a great case study — Google opened up an office there because of the rich talent coming from Carnegie Mellon.
So yes, something is brewing in NYC — the ad/marketing industry is undergoing a transformational shit to a design-focus — and NYC has always been a hub for advertising.
And innovation can still be found where you might least expect it — the dark corner room with the jolt-cola fueled masters candidate. Ahh, I miss those days at the ETC.