A how-to guide to creativity and innovation in business, with easy to follow step-by-step advice. Gleaned from decades of observing the best and brightest creative minds in business, my book reveals the secrets to being creative at work.
“What do you do all day?”
It was a simple question, posed to me by a junior account executive who had just been recruited at the marketing agency where I was working as creative director.
Fresh out of university, he used to enjoy his visits to my creative department. In contrast to the sterile, business-like environment of the account handling department, creative must have seemed more akin to his previous life on campus. The atmosphere was informal. People were always cracking jokes. Lounging around on designer chairs and gossiping. Scoffing free biscuits and competing with each other to come up with the most outlandish and seemingly absurd suggestions.
And yet from this slightly anarchic environment came the rather sensible creative work that he and his account handling colleagues would take along to client meetings and present.
So his question was half joking, and half serious. On the one hand, he was observing that it didn’t seem like we did much work at all. And on the other hand, he was genuinely puzzled about how this lackadaisical environment inexplicably seemed to keep coming up with the goods.
What exactly was it that my creatives were doing each day that resulted in them generating creative ideas that could put a smile on the face of the most difficult client? Were they wasting time mucking around, or was the playful, relaxed environment an integral part of the process?
In this sense, his question was in fact not so much “what” we did all day, but “how” did we do it? And it’s a question that has stuck with me ever since, because I didn’t have an answer for him at the time. I was a successful creative myself, and I’d recruited a team of top creative talent. Yet I could not say precisely what it was about what we did that was so important. And that seems to be the way it is with most creatives. We don’t know exactly how we do what we do. We just do it.
So from that point on, I decided to pay much closer attention to precisely how we were doing what we were doing. And over the years, working with a wide variety of brilliantly talented creatives, I have steadily developed a comprehensive answer to that junior account executive’s question.
It is not a short answer, but at least it is easy to understand, and better still, it turns out there’s nothing magical about it. The practical, step-by-step “models of creative excellence” that I’ve identified are something that anyone can follow to unleash their true creative potential.
So this book is dedicated to that young junior account executive, and indeed to anyone who wants to get a better understanding of what exactly it is that creatives do that is so important. This book is the answer I couldn’t give, all those years ago. It’s the answer to “what do creatives do?”