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?