Joe Duncan: Directing Digital Innovation
While the pace of technological advances may leave some faint-at-heart, Duncan relishes it. He is passionate in his quest to keep the agency on the cutting edge, always striving for the utopian “better, faster, cheaper” methods.
When asked about the most important strategy he’s deployed throughout his career in print and production, Duncan says it’s all about sharing, being client-focused, being humble, cooperative, and never settling for the status quo.
“You have to open yourself up, give everything you have. There can be no secrets,” he stresses. “We have to keep talking about issues; we have to continue to think about what might come next. We have to keep sharing information.”
And Duncan practices what he preaches; he is an active participant in industry associations, he chaired the 2005 Spectrum conference for industry association IDEAlliance, and in 2006 was presented with a Luminaire award from the Partnership in Print Production (P3) association in New York.
He also sits on the board of directors for the Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer and the board of visitors for the University Lake School.
Many, likewise, have shared their knowledge with Duncan along the way, he says—people who have taken him underwing and taught him the tricks of the trade.
“What we do here at Burnett is unique. My peers, Anne Trout, Nancy Cardea and Elise Garber have been patient with my opinions and have taught me much. And the people at Burnett have given me great latitude and support as we try to provide compelling solutions to new challenges every day,” Duncan notes. “I am flattered to be associated with the Print Management Group at Leo Burnett.
“And my boss, Jim Mikol, is the visionary,” he adds. “He’s been a constant source of information and inspiration—he’s prophetic. … He’s taught me that you have to get it right; you have to think everything through, and not to get stuck in old paradigms. I also owe a debt of gratitude to Joe Madden, the founder of Madden Communications. He taught me how the business of communications was done. Those two guys have had a profound impact on my career.”
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