Law 4: From Ideal Future to Practical Future

One of the common concerns we hear from brands and organizations is that many of them know that they need to evolve but don’t know quite how. “How do I keep up with the changing times and build the future of my brand and business?” is a recurring worry we hear all the time.

As such, companies in recent years have been using phrases such as innovation, digital transformation (DX), disruption, design thinking, and even moonshot thinking, to push their brand or market relevance agenda.

So how do you achieve innovation, transformation, or even disruption? …

Law 3: From Case Study, To Business Case

The advertising industry is obsessed with awards. Back when TV commercials and print advertising were still big (and effective), judging ads for an award show was not that complicated. You could just watch a 30-second spot or see an ad on a page, then you would give it a score. With the rise of digital, however, ads became more than just TV commercials and print ads. It’s become a complicated web of media tactics. That consequently made the process of judging ads at award shows quite cumbersome.

Enter “case study films” at award shows.

These one-to-two-minute films showcase the work…

Law 2: From USP, to POV

Among countless industries that have been hurt by the pandemic, one that is hurt the most is the restaurant industry. While some eateries did manage to survive and make ends meet by offering food delivery, managing restaurants was a low-profitability business already, and many establishments entered bankruptcy. 50% of restaurants in New York City have closed since the start of the pandemic. Even fine-dining and long-established restaurants have been closing their doors.

Amid this climate, a business acquaintance of mine, who happens to be a very avid wine collector in Japan, was presented with an interesting proposition: a wine collection…

Law 1: From Organizational Scale, to Functional Speed

“Is it possible to create a brand purely online?”

A marketing director of an international brand asked me not too long ago. More than ten years have passed since social media appeared, and the word Digital Transformation (DX) has finally taken root. The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated digitization, and even countries that had been slow to adapt to the digital age like Japan, are finally beginning to change. For instance, the Prime Minister of Japan, Yoshihide Suga, after taking office proclaimed the need for the Department of Digital in his government. …

I used to travel between New York City and Tokyo for work almost every month.

Last time I traveled between those two cities on opposite sides of the globe was mid-February of 2020. In early March, I was supposed to fly again, but I postponed that trip because of COVID-19, thinking that I’d be on a plane again in a month or so.

Oh, that was a completely different world.

For both work and personal reasons, I needed to be in Japan this summer. …

Credit: Clay Banks / Unsplash

At first, I wasn’t sure what to say.

For the past couple of weeks, I watched the civil unrest in the United States unfold, first online and then in-person where I live — Brooklyn, New York.

There have been countless voices expressing solidarity from individuals to corporations. One that made me stop was a message from Nike “Don’t Do It.”

My initial reaction was, “Well played. Nike does it again.”

Having been in the communication industry for two decades and working with Nike for more than a decade, not only have I been impressed by the organization’s ability to…

The following was originally published on I&CO’s Starship Journal on April 2, 2020.

We encourage everyone to work from home, starting tomorrow.”

That was the afternoon of Tuesday, March 10, 2020, only about three weeks ago. Everyone at I&CO gathered in our conference room. At that point, it felt potentially premature for a company to be asking its employees to work remotely.

That sounds naive now.

That day, we put together a guideline called “Working Remotely During COVID-19” in order to ready ourselves for this New Normal. It proved to be immediately and tangibly helpful. …

More than 20 years ago, I went to meet John Maeda at the MIT Media Lab for the first time.

This week, I had the honor of hosting a conference in SF and interviewing him in front of an audience.

John wore my star shirt.

Me and John Maeda on stage at NCC 2018 in San Francisco

Here’s the backstory:

In the mid 90’s, I was an art and design student at the University of Michigan. I had come across John’s work around then while he was teaching at MIT. …

Back in the summer of 2015, Rem and I decided to start a company.

We didn’t quite know what it was going to be. But we knew we wanted to create something from scratch, and do it our own way.

February 1, 2016 marks the official launch of Inamoto & Co, a Business Invention Studio that creates Tools with Heart for the connected world.

Our aim is to create breakthrough solutions through the harmonization of Design, Data & Technology. We wholeheartedly believe that these three things in business are as essential as air, water and fire in life. …

Rei Inamoto

A designer by trade, a minimalist at heart. Founding Partner of I&CO. Named in “Creativity 50,” “The Top 25 Most Creative People in Advertising.”

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