October 18, 2007
New York City, New York
December 2-5, 2007
La Quinta, California
May 20-23, 2007  |  Austin, Texas
Published: May 22, 2007

Productive collaboration starts with conversation, and that's what we're here to do at the iMedia Agency Summit.

We're here in beautiful Austin, Texas at the soothing and luxurious Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa, so why would we choose "collaborate or die!" as our grim-sounding theme for this week's iMedia Agency Summit?

Because it's that important.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt has been quoted as saying, "When you say 'collaboration,' the average 45-year-old thinks they know what you're talking about: teams sitting down, having a nice conversation with nice objectives and a nice attitude. That's what collaboration means to most people."

The flabby version of collaboration that Mr. Schmidt satirizes is not what this Summit is about. 

The stakes for collaboration are high across the business world and particularly within anything related to media. Books like Yochai Benkler's "The Wealth of Networks," Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams' "Wikinomics," as well as Henry Jenkins "Convergence Culture" are pressing companies to change how they do business today rather than eventually. And outside the business section of your local bookstore it's clear that old business models are collapsing under the weight of free-form, improvisational and non-hierarchical modes of communication enabled by the internet. (Just ask the makers of the Encyclopedia Britannica what they think of Wikipedia.)

Both agencies and their tendency not to work together are in jeopardy because if they don't do this conversational work, others will happily take it from them. It's no accident that the biggest commercial this year (Doritos from the Super Bowl) wasn't made by an agency, nor that Advertising Age's "Agency of the Year" award went to "Consumers" and featured a photo of the Diet Coke and Mentos guys from Eepybird.

Along these same urgent lines, in February, Forrester released an important report by Peter Kim, "Help Wanted: 21st Century Agencies," that described how utterly inadequate most brands find the work and structure of their agencies. The time to change has arrived, and if agencies wait to change then they'll lose their chance.

Productive collaboration starts with conversation, and that's what we're here to do. Whether it's giving you things to think and talk about on the main stage, empowering conversation through smaller breakout sessions and the one-minute match-ups, or just giving you a chance to get to know and trust each other a bit more, we want you to make the most of your time here at the Summit.

Good luck!

Brad Berens is editor in chief & chief content officer , iMedia Communications, Inc. Read full bio.