I don’t think creativity belongs only in the so-called creative dept.
In fact, that’s often the least creative place.
As Edward de Bono said, “There are lots of people calling themselves creative who are actually mere stylists.”
Creativity isn’t a particular discipline.
It’s the quality of originality and unexpectedness that you bring to whatever you do.
So what forms can creativity take in other departments?
In Kung Fu the have an expression,”Wu Wei”, translated as ‘action by inaction’.
(Meaning, if possible it’s always better to get your desired result by doing as little as possible.)
Amanda Walsh used to be our CEO and head suit (or frock).
One day she got a call from a new business prospect asking if we could help them sort out their strategy.
They weren’t a client, but it was an obvious carrot for us.
If we helped them sort out their strategy, they’d issue it as brief for a pitch and we’d be on the pitch list.
They asked us because they knew we had Murray Chick as a partner, one of the best strategists in town.
For me, this was a great chance to get an unfair advantage over the competition.
If I got Murray’s strategy before the other agencies, then our creative dept. could start work earlier.
A bit like starting a race before the other competitors.
So I kept pestering Amanda and Murray:
Me (week one): “Is the brief ready yet?”
Amanda: “Not yet, the client hasn’t had a chance to read it.”
Me (week two): “Hey, is the brief ready yet?”
Amanda: “Not yet. The client’s still thinking about it.”
Me (week three): “Where the fuck is the brief?”
Amanda: “The client still hasn’t made up their mind..”
Me (week four): “You’ve just wasted four weeks when we could have been working on the pitch.”
Amanda: “Look, calm down Dave.
We’re not hassling the client because, while they’re dragging their feet they’re running out of time.
The whole process has gone on so long that that they’ll suddenly realise they’re about to miss their airdate.
They won’t have time for a pitch and they’ll have to give us the account without one.”
And that’s exactly what happened.