Everyone knows that the world is becoming more complex. Timings are getting tighter. Cycles are getting shorter. And we all know where this leads. It leads to the creation of disposable plastic solutions. Quickly thought out, quickly implemented, and with sparse results. Perhaps there will be another award for the perceived balance of recognition. The rest are victims of circumstances. See above. It's becoming increasingly rare for companies and brands to achieve real, sustainable success through their communication concepts. Not even with virals clicked millions of times or with immeasurable media budgets. What is going on?
Our business is creation. We are idea architects who want to and can design brand buildings. Our creation is not an exclusive playground for creative people. Even good consultants and especially strategic planning must think creatively in order to create suitable foundations for our services. The creative achievement as a team is our competence and our passion and in the end, it is also our right to exist. Then why are we becoming increasingly less conducive to creativity? More and more, we don't take the time to come up with the best solutions. Budgets and ideas are calculated on an hourly basis. What a poor testimony to the value of a good idea, which unfortunately doesn’t just fall from the sky when needed. As a result, we stumble from job to job. Time and cost pressures force us to offer only the first ideas instead of the best. And to sell them as the best. After all, we are advertisers. At some point, customers ask themselves if they couldn't have done it themselves. And, yes, they could have.
If creation is to remain the heart of our business, we must give it more room again. Every creative person – whether painter, poet, cook or even advertiser – needs inspiration. No one notices that more and more copywriters are coming up that don’t read, that more and more art directors are applying that never develop a passion for art, and that more and more strategists are defining themselves through their social media abilities. Why? Because they no longer have time to develop their own passion.
It’s indeed even more dramatic because "no time" means "no desire". Genuine, unbridled curiosity lies in the nature of creative people. We need an environment that feeds this curiosity instead of suffocating it. The new universally promised work-life-balance claim of the creative new generation is in reality self-defence. Anyone who glues together ready-made concepts all day long cannot see any point in doing it even more intensely or for longer periods of time. The creative new generation is told every now and again, just how much time the things may take. How much is a minute in an agency worth, gone so quickly as one stares off into space?
Is it any wonder then that people come up with the idea that their own minute of life is too valuable to give away in overtime to create average solutions? If a talent discovers really new ideas in new fields, makes new experiences and finds new interests, the life-balance already grows during the work. So the key question is: how do we organize inspiration for agencies? Considering the existential necessity, ideally quite radically.
The investment that we put into inspiration distinguishes us from our customers. We need more presentation, meetings, excursions, offsite workshops, travel and above all time to unlock the creative potential. Yes, during working hours. And we need employees who want to broaden their horizons every day. Yes, even outside of normal working hours. And we need clients who are willing to support this investment through reasonable remuneration. Not to keep the illustrious party people from the award circus happy, but to actually get substantially better ideas.
Agencies are the periscope in the world of possibilities for their clients. And who, if not us agencies, should cross borders every day on a journey of discovery. Our job is the architecture of ideas. This requires curious, interested, well-trained people. Elaborately inspired people, constantly motivated in their search for new things. And the cold, hard truth is that this doesn't come cheap! Good ideas are expensive. They cost piles of money. Because the people who have them are rare and expensive. And inspiring them is expensive.
Ideas are the engine of entrepreneurial success. Inspiration is the fuel. We need a new awareness for the importance of inspiration. Perhaps we shouldn't employ Chief Creative Officers any longer, but rather Chief Inspiration Officers. Who will reawaken in all agency departments the thing that actually makes agencies irreplaceable: curiosity.