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March 21, 2018 - Comments Off on Sir John Hegarty in conversation

Sir John Hegarty in conversation

If you don't know who Sir John Hegarty is then you are in the wrong place.

And if you don't know, but are too lazy to google him, he's the co-founder of global ad agency BBH.

To paint a picture of how popular this particular talk was at Advertising Week Europe, I couldn't actually get in and had to sit in a cinema screen listening over headphones. Which had a mouse in it.

This discussion was lead by Jonathan Akwue, chair of the Ideas Foundation, a charity working to drive diversity which I highly recommend you check out here: http://ideasfoundation.org.uk/

And asking the questions were young leaders at the start of their creative careers keen to get practical tips on how to zig-zag their way to creative success.

If you've ever heard a Hegarty talk before you'll know what a treat it is to get insight from the man who has played such a massive part in advertising.

When asked about how he arrived at the decision to enter the world of advertising he described his journey to art school, in an attempt to be the next Picasso – and to get the ladies. Turns out this was not for him and he decided to attend the London College of Printing, though you may know it by its current name, London College of Communication. He says it was here that realised that the world could not be changed with a shade of blue but by ideas.

On the topic of diversity, he was not shy to declare that he detests the phrase ethnic minority and chooses to use ethnic essentials instead. "Creativity thrives on diversity". He believes that the more culture and different ways of thinking that can be shared the better, and the diversity you put into an agency comes out in its work. He also shared that this is why he is against 'Brexshit', that Britain's choice to cut itself off from other cultures is sad and foolish.

The next trend? Better ideas. Honestly, he says stop worrying about the trends and start refining your ideas. Tech will come and go but a great idea won't need it. And his thoughts on data are pretty much the same. "Big data is bullshit". The greatest story about data is the story of the birth of Christ – they went for the census and got more then they bargained for. The knowledge aquired by big data might be useful but using it is better. "Have an idea that influences the future."

How does one become inspired? Well, look around, there's inspiration everywhere. Take off your headphones, read more, read different and surround yourself with people who inspire you (basically, sack off all the people weighing you down.) Great creatives are optimists, they do interesting things with passion and in return are rewarded with interesting things happening to them. Yes, there's still such a thing as being too optimistic but it's encouraged. Optimists can be brought down but you'll struggle to bring a pessimist up.

And finally, he preached the death of the brainstorm. There's no proof that any truly wonderful idea was born in a brainstorm but there is plenty of evidence to prove that it's actually the work of great individuals. In a brainstorm you're working as fast as the slowest person in the room - rushing towards average - will more people in the room really help? Or, will creativity strike when you aren't even trying?

March 21, 2018 - Comments Off on Why f**k ups are fundamental

Why f**k ups are fundamental

Caroline Pay and Vicki Maguire - Co-chief Creative Officers Grey London

If there was one talk I wasn't going to miss at Advertising Week Europe, it was this one.

And here's why, only moments in Vicki proudly stated,"If you don't like profanity, fuck off now."

The tone was pretty much set from there.

There was so much from this talk I want to share with you and it all starts with the stigma of failure. We are told over and over again 'don't fuck up'. Well, that's wrong. Learning how to fail well is a skill that should be taught to everyone. Scientists spend years, and hundreds of millions of pounds, failing repeatedly until a conclusion is drawn and everyone goes home calling the whole thing a massive success. Surely, creatives should do the same? Failure is crucial to growth.

Some of Vicki and Caroline's fuck ups include forgetting the client was on the all staff email, forgetting to draw buttons on a design for shirt during a valiant attempt at getting into the fashion industry, and leaving three jobs with no backup plan. Note: none of these fuck ups stopped either of these incredible women getting where they are now and certainly aren't slowing them down by sharing them today.

Here is a selection of things to remember when you have the fuck-up fear.

10 ways to make fuck ups glorious
  1. Remember no one will die (hopefully) - We are creatives, not brain surgeons. Have fun and try to relax a little
  2. Don't have a plan B - Backups mean you don't believe in yourself. With Plan A you could end up a monumental success or a total fuck up but you definitely won't be in the safe space you are right now. 
  3. Thank people who failed you - Be grateful to the people who let you down. It could be a CEO or it could be a tutor from uni, either way, they got you further on your journey.
  4. One-downmanship is better than one-upmanship - Advertising has enough people puffing out their chests. Be humble, remember that you and no one else is perfect. 
  5. Have a fuck off fund - Get three months rent and bills together and don't be afraid to use it. 
  6. Hire failures - This one's for the bosses out there but also for future you, employ people who can admit their mistakes.
  7. Exercise your failure muscles - Practice bouncing back. It's not easy by any means but get ready to get back in the game. 
  8. Fuck imposter syndrome - Stop making tea for people, stop offering up your seat in meetings, stop hiding your ideas. You got the job now do it. 
  9. Fail out loud - Share your fuck ups, learn from your fuck ups and don't act like you've never fucked up. 
  10. Fail together - This one really speaks for itself, don't throw others under the bus, share your fails and get over it.

Following the talk there was a Q&A, and here are my three favourites:

Q: What would you say to a junior who's CEO is afraid of failure?
A: Leave.

Q: What about if clients are the ones afraid of failure?
A: Show clients you're willing to jump with them and they will jump. Prove that taking a risk is necessary to success.

Q: What's the best bit of advice you've ever received?
A: You're no good to me unless you've failed three times.

And in case it wasn't clear already this talk was absolutely fantastic.

If you're still not sold on the number of fabulous fuck ups out there check this out: https://www.museumoffailure.se/