We turned 10 last year, and whilst considering what we could do to mark the occasion, a sub-title stood out on the office wall, reading: ‘creativity is the last competitive advantage’.
A discussion circled around that idea for some time — we run a business that effectively trades in the stuff, connecting brands looking for the best creative thinking with agencies who are able to offer it. We see, more than anyone, the resources market-leading businesses are putting behind partnering with the best creative minds — it's clearly recognised that harnessing it properly will bring real value, that it's now a must-have vs the nice-to-have it once was.
Some of the most in-demand agencies are booked up for 6 months at a time — the cost for top talent is at an all-time high — tech giants are offering banker-like six-figure salaries to designers and product leads who just a few years ago would be biting the hand off anyone who would pay them a comfortable five figure wage. And the management consultancies are even on board, buying up agencies and publishing thought-pieces titled 'The Business Value of Design' and 'Creating Creativity: A Leader’s Guide' (yikes).
It’s gold dust basically, yet ask someone to define what it is, exactly, and the conversation pings in a thousand different directions. Conscious of the fact the world doesn’t need another white paper - we’ll leave that to the aforementioned consulting groups - we’ve instead tasked ourselves with a mission to seek out and better understand how the world’s best creative minds think about the subject (creativity as a currency) and begin to explore what we can learn from their thinking. We’re keen to know how can we measure it, how it is evolving, how it impacts the world we live in and how it can be leveraged beyond business to address critical questions on race, culture, economy and the environment…
These are huge topics, of course, and whilst very much not wanting to over-claim, we believe we are a business that is truly best-placed to unpack them. Not because we believe we have the answers, but because the people we champion do. We sit at the intersection of the world’s most forward thinking businesses and a globally minded set of the creative 'top 1%’ — a sort of gateway to creative excellence — with relationships that afford us the simple but rare luxury of being able to ask the questions.
And that’s exactly what we’ve done. Through extensive surveying and countless hours of interviews with 50+ of the creative industry’s finest, we’ve started to paint a qualitative and quantitative picture of the current creative landscape. We used bleeding-edge AI tools to evaluate a myriad of different responses and a team of editors to extract themes and form takeaways that, we hope, will be useful to anyone who values creativity in the way we do; as the last true competitive advantage, and something we, and the world, could all do with more of.
Thank you to everyone involved in the making of this, we’re humbled by the time and energy people have been willing to give, and very much hope this inspires you in the way it has us.
Celebrating 10 and seeing this as very much the start,