How Companies Can Design A Culture Of Creativity

How Companies Can Design A Culture Of Creativity

James Shuttleworth, Chief Strategy Officer at Draft FCB, shares key points on how to keep the creative juices flowing in a rigid corporate environment.

Plus Aziz
  • 7 october 2010

At its core, a company that creates different forms of advertising is a creative organization. James Shuttleworth, Chief Strategy Officer at Draftfcb Chicago, mentioned how his agency, which staffs a good 40 planners at any given time, struggles and copes with this regularly. In his talk at Planningness NYC, he argued that large companies have to design for creativity, since it does not happen organically.

Here are some key points from his presentation how planners can thrive in large agencies:

Dealing With Ambiguity
Ambiguity gives us the opportunity to be creative. Being prepared to face unguided situations enables planners to be creative. There is a need in agencies for collective genius, where people act spontaniously, while prioritizing the larger picture (which includes their colleagues’ ideas and the brand’s position in the market). There is also a need for people that are well-rounded (rather than hyper-specialized) and able to make things with various teams.

The Need For Action

There is a call to transform ourselves from being “What if people” to “If/Then people”. What if people are dreamers, esoteric, and blue sky thinkers. “If/Then” look for causal relationships and dig into the wealth of information available to us as planners to find innovative solutions.

The Planning Department Is Not An Organ, But A Circulatory System

Planners need to find new ways to touch all parts of the agency and help them be more creative, whether it’s helping HR make smarter hiring decisions to enabling digital and traditional teams become better integrated. Rather than being guitar soloists in the spotlight, planners should strive to be more like jazz musicians by being exploratory, sensing who they’re addressing in their presentations, and opening up their insights to negotiation.

Behavior Supersedes Belief

Collective vision (i.e. culture, corporate values) is created and understood only after people behave in a particular way. Once they do it, they learn it, and finally feel it.


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