The model for next generation creative team building


Ideas people aren’t on drugs, they are drugs.

I’ve seen the whole agency world transform in the last decade.

We’re moving into a new model of structuring teams in agencies to produce work for our clients.

Pure play ‘creativity’ as we knew it is a thing of the past.

There’s a quote I love which goes ‘We used to make people want things, now we make things people want’.

That notion of taking creativity away from communications/marketing/brand, and pushing it into product/service/user centred design, is what will define the future of agency-based professional services.

We used to split the world in two.

The people who wrote a brief, and the people who responded to it.

The boundaries have blurred completely.

Clients are looking to do continuous improvement of their systems.

That means looking holistically at your customer-centric business strategy.

So the brief becomes about what you make, rather than how you sell it.

And technology means we can develop products and services, and take them to market, with the same ease that we used to create marketing campaigns.

So why make an advert when you can make a better product for less?

(This is summarised beautifully in Clay Christensen’s new book.)

To this end, we see the advanced digital agencies finding problems and creating solutions in collaboration with internal teams in a client business.

The agency drops a team into their client’s business and together they work in an agile process to define the customer need, the product or service that provides for that need, the design and build of that product, and the take-to-market strategy for the solution.

It’s a process that uses sprints to keep up momentum, and all parties are critical to validating the outcomes of the sprints.

So your CX and UX teams are leading at the definition stage, your design and strategy teams are leading at the conceptual stage, and your build and implementation teams are leading at the production stage. But all are involved from the outset so that the output takes form holistically, and all parties are validating at every sprint stage.

So if you’re building the ultimate ‘creative team’ of the future, it actually involves way more skills than we traditionally consider to be ‘creative’.

For my own ‘creative’ team at Realise I have a cross section of the skills I feel we need to provide a complete design and communications solution for our clients.

That includes digital design and art direction, copywriting and content strategy as well as motion graphics. My creative team is also integrated closely into our UX and CX team, our creative technology team and our strategy team.

In fact the boundaries are so blurred now that looking at the form of any team that works for a client is like looking at the molecules in chemical compounds.

Each has its own unique combination of elements, connected together in a bespoke structure.

And like a chemical compound, or drug, each variation is designed to manage and relieve a very specific problem.

I guess you could say that looking at the modern incarnation of a ‘creative team’, you’re more likely to think they are a drug, rather than being on one.

(With apologies to Chemists.)