MIAMI — Adopting an agile work-style is critical in today’s always-on PR environment, despite ongoing challenges that panelists discussed during the opening session at Day Two of PRovoke16. The session was moderated by  Ravi Sunnak, EVP at Havas PR, the session's sponsor. 

Zain Habboo (pictured), UN Foundation senior director for digital, pointed to the organization’s #GivingTuesday and #UNselfie initiatives as evidence of agile campaigns.

“The hashtag tells you this is a digital moment for everyone to get behind,” Habboo said. When a massive terrorist attack hit Paris in the months leading to its climate conference, the UN Foundation quickly pivoted #EarthToParis to counter the rise of clicktivism and avoid being seen as opportunistic. 

Jamie McLaughlin, president of recruiting firm Capstone Hill, said despite the push towards agility and adaptability, he finds that agencies often prioritize more traditional skills — strong writers, planning capabilities — when hiring.  

“Millennials like collaboration, challenge, feedback-- this perfectly dovetails with agile,” McLaughlin said.  

He added, US PR firms are moving towards even more flexibility and vacation time that resembles their European counterparts because the agile working environment demands that people be available during their time-off.

“Millennials are happy to be on all the time, as long as they have the freedom to do it from anywhere,” he added.

Adriana Stan, PR director for W Magazine, spoke to the challenge of balancing creativity with agility. She pointed to the magazine using Tumblr’s Answer Time to “bring content with celebrities to life.” Additionally, when it comes to engaging readers around the election, digital platforms became more important than its print publication.    

“The biggest enemy of agility is not being forward-looking,” Haboo said. “The other is fear and people who are afraid to move forward...The accelerator is being ready for the next thing because it will be here tomorrow."