menu

PSFK Conference Speaker Interview: Nick Barham And Dan Hon

PSFK Conference Speaker Interview: Nick Barham And Dan Hon
Advertising

Advertising agency Wieden + Kennedy's Global Director and Creative Director share their insights on difficulties that creative businesses face, how they try to overcome them, and the current industry atmosphere.

Amelia Riley Swan
  • 23 september 2011

Nick Barham and Dan Hon will be speaking at our upcoming PSFK CONFERENCE SAN FRANCISCO on October 6. Nick is currently Global Director of Wieden + Kennedy Tomorrow, working to help W+K innovate beyond its core advertising business by exploring such fields as technology and sustainability. Dan is the Interactive Creative Director at W+K, with a background in alternate reality gaming and entertainment. In anticipation of their talk about the future of creative business at the PSFK CONFERENCE SAN FRANCISCO 2011, we bring you some insights from Nick and Dan:

On October 6th, you are going to talk about the changes and challenges that creative businesses currently face. What are some of the difficulties you’ve seen thus far?

DH: Staffing and the makeup of teams over time. Creative agencies like W+K are good with big picture conceptual creatives, but frequently now we have to do systems thinking that goes beyond the three line big idea. That’s not necessarily what a ‘traditional’ creatives will want to do. A lot of innovation is also coming from outside the agency world, from people who probably wouldn’t want to work at an agency. How do we attract those people?

One of the big challenges we have is communicating the ideas and principles behind new kinds of interactive work. These are, in some instances, big, complicated systems that don’t lend themselves to simple abstraction.

NB: Creative businesses pride themselves on being connected to emerging culture. The volume and velocity of what’s new — its diversity and visibility, give a permanent sense of being left behind.  That innovation is happening elsewhere.  It often feels like the best stuff is being done by individuals, or people who don’t care about ‘business.’

Uncertainty about what could/should be made. The possibilities of different platforms, services and experiences are exhilarating. But the desire to experiment and go beyond what you’ve made before often comes up against the reality of business’s existing skill set or process.

Is anyone ‘winning?’ Is there anything positive that has caught your eye recently?

DH: Yes, but not from traditional agencies, I suppose. The things that are interesting to me have been high(er) risk and iteratively developed projects that are more fire-and-forget. I’d say that it would seem difficult to do such things in an agency/client environment without a great, trusting relationship. Everyone is trying to work out how to be nimble.

NB: It feels like most businesses are struggling to figure out their role and special skills in a very fluid and competitive market.  There might be intermittent wins, but it doesn’t feel like any organization has it sorted.  Perhaps winning is just being comfortable with this uncertainty.

Each of you have different roles at Wieden + Kennedy — what are you doing to try to overcome these challenges and create change?

DH: I get to ask dumb questions because I haven’t come from an agency background. Why are we doing things a particular way? How do our people cooperate in ways that they might not be used to? Can we work with our client and persuade them to work with us in a more iterative way?

NB: Bringing in different types of people and organizations who can help us think differently about how we work and what we make.

What do you think our audience will take away from your talk?

DH: Here are some things that we have tried. Here are some issues that we are facing as well. No one has this all figured out, but we can perhaps share what’s worked and what hasn’t.

NB: There’s no universal theory for making something brilliant and meaningful.  Trying to identify a new model or a new structure is less useful than experimenting with a bunch of different approaches.

Thanks, Nick and Dan!

Wieden + Kennedy

Nick and Dan will be speaking at the PSFK CONFERENCE SAN FRANCISCO 2011. Come listen to like minds as they share their ideas to make things better on stage and off. Find out more about the full lineup of speakers at the PSFK CONFERENCE SAN FRANCISCO 2011 here.

Advertising
Trending

PSFK's Workplace Vision: Leave The Busywork To The Bots

Ai
Syndicated Yesterday

In Popular Games, The Recurring Theme Is Exploration

The much-hyped sci-fi sandbox game proved to be as massive as expected, while Pokémon Go continued to prove inescapable

Design Yesterday

The Best In Wearable Tech From The Rio Olympics

PSFK rounds out the Rio Games with our picks for the best gadgets and devices used to track performance

Trending

Get PSFK's Latest Report: Future of Work

See All
Advertising Yesterday

This Cookbook Is Inspired By Brad Pitt’s On-Screen Eating Habits

Learn how to whip up meals and snacks pulled straight from the actor's fictional universe

USA Yesterday

Tour The US National Parks From The Comfort Of Your Home

Google's new 360-degree video feature lets people take a trip to Alaska, Utah or Hawaii and see these marvels of nature up close

PURPLELIST EXPERTS

Bonnie Knutson

Hospitality & Marketing

Augmented & Virtual Reality Yesterday

VR Training For Active Shooter Preparedness

SurviVR is an immersive environment to teach civilians how to protect themselves in dangerous situations

Cities Yesterday

Redesigned London Tube Map Aims To Get People Walking

The updated display illustrates approximately how many steps it takes to walk between stations for a healthier commute

Experiential Marketing Yesterday

Nike Creates An Immersive Pop-Up Fitness Experience In London

The Unlimited You space gave athletes a chance to push their limits farther than ever before

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders
NEW

PSFK Op-Ed august 23, 2016

Modern Workplace Culture: No More Fat Cats Or Kissing Ass

Samar Birwadker, CEO & Co-Founder of Good & Co, on designing shared organizational values to optimize employee happiness and success

PSFK Labs Yesterday

The 10 Steps To Discover, Hire, Develop Your Next Leader

PSFK's Future of Work report outlines key steps in the employee development path to empower next-gen leaders

Automotive Yesterday

Uber Now Lets Commuters Pay With Pretax Dollars

The prepaid cards are a partnership with WageWorks, letting uberPool users save up to 40% on their trip

Home Yesterday

Philips Hue Adds Motion Sensor To Control Lights Automatically

The wireless device lets users interact with their environment without needing to press a switch

Home Yesterday

Beacon Device Takes The Pain Out Of Navigating A New Airbnb

Ping provides new guests with a guided tour of the house or apartment through a simple tap of their phone

Arts & Culture Yesterday

Shelf Makes Its Contents Appear To Hover In Midair

The design uses metal tubes to create an optical illusion when viewed from the front

Arts & Culture Yesterday

Interactive Ceiling Responds To People Walking Underneath

The installation features built-in sensors that cause the undulating surface to morph and react to passersby

INSIGHTS COVERAGE

Rio Olympics
Innovation Coverage From The Rio Games
READ NOW

Fashion Yesterday

Declutter And Recycle All Of Your Unwanted Stuff

A new app will help catalogue your possessions and give them away as donations when you no longer want them

Advertising Yesterday

Tokyo Concept Store Disguised As A Parking Garage

The retail and cafe project is designed as a hidden treasure for urban explorers

No search results found.