Is Creativity Our Escape Pod?
We asked respondents to define creativity. Their answers weren’t entirely surprising. From a set of multiple choices, in this order, these were the top FOUR: TRANSFORMATIVE, EMOTIONAL, MEANINGFUL, INNOVATIVE.
Each of the choices on their own is enough to suggest that those working in creative industries have an almost dogmatic belief in creativity as a force for good, so long as it's practiced with intention. “There's blind creativity and then there's creativity that sharply addresses a problem,” says Trevor Hubbard, founder and CEO at Butchershop, a San Francisco-based agency. “Creativity is using data and objective points of orientation to make better solutions.” The mere idea that this can be an expectation of creativity helps us understand a key component of what drives those in creative industries. Simply put, many of us believe that creativity can make our collective experience better. Which begs the ultimate question: In the face of the factors that we laid out in “The Moment” section, will creativity rocket us beyond the gravity of the current situation on earth?
“Will creativity rocket us beyond the gravity of the current situation on earth?”
For instance, the UN World Food Program has said that it would only take £4.4 billion ($6 billion) to stave off the hunger-induced deaths of 41 million people on earth. Point being, there are a lot of socially oriented creative minds who’d love to get their hands on that cash — for good.
“We've got lots and lots of problems in the world at the moment, whether that's what's going on in Afghanistan to the polarization of different views, or this huge divide between rich and poor,” says Max Ottignon, founder of Ragged Edge, a London-based agency. “These are all things that creativity has got a really, really fundamental role in solving.”
Ottignon’s sentiments were mirrored by a number of other respondents who think the world is starting to understand that creativity isn't just about fun ideas for brands.
“We are going through a very challenging time, says Karina Rahavia, founder of Ollo, a Sao Paulo-based recruiting agency for creative talent. “As homo sapiens, I think creativity is really what's going to, in a way, save us from the destruction of ourselves.”
In a 2016 move that surprised many in the asset management world, BlackRock Inc. appointed as its CMO the former CMO of American media company Buzzfeed. It goes without saying, these two brands could not be more different than one another. But look closer and we see that those driving big brands now see creativity as an asset.
“On average 60% of an organization's value is in non-tangible assets,” says David Johnston, Founder of Accept & Proceed, a London-based agency. “So effectively all of the brand work makes up a part of those intangible assets. Someone who can be the guardian of the integrity of that is absolutely crucial to any organization.” He goes on to suggest that’s a role creative agencies will begin to increasingly play for brands. “Guardianship is the future,” he says.
This trend of creatives moving into higher orbits amounts to “increased input from the creative folks to core parts of the business,” says Tom Hardy, founder and creative director at Manifesto Studios, a London-based agency. “In short, the more upstream you are, the better off you’ll be.” And perhaps we’ll all be.