I am not doing this to name drop, but Will.i.am joined us for dinner the other night. We were eating at Nobu to celebrate Megan’s 17th birthday. Our eldest daughter wanted a special evening with her friends, but she had no idea how special it would turn out to be. Will.i.am was sitting at the next table with a friend and he couldn’t miss the round table of laughing and excited 17-year-olds. After buying them all dessert and chatting in passing, he came and joined us and sat down for nearly an hour. Now while this made the girls feel like they had won the lottery and entered a parallel universe all at the same time, I was fascinated by what he had to say.
He is a tech obsessive, passionate about the potential of the future and driven and energised by what is possible. He told us about his work with tech companies; about his dreams for the possibilities delivered by 3D printing; about the extraordinary life that 8-and 9-year-olds would inherit because they are the ones who will really benefit from the supersonic tech progress we are experiencing. The most wonderful aspect of his enthusiasm was that he was totally unshackled in his thinking. And out of that extraordinary freedom comes amazing ideas for the companies he advises. Creative thoughts that fuel commercial success.
And that’s our business. To have creative thoughts that deliver commercial success for our clients. For their sales. For their profile. For their protection. For their influence. Creativity powered by insight with knowledge of the context – and then hard data to deliver the reach and outcome.
Marketing author Seth Godin says, “Creativity demands exposure to market needs and insulation from market fears. Give it some time to work, some support, some breathing room. That’s when creativity has a chance to change the game.”
I love that we have the opportunity every day to change the game for our clients. I love that we are in an industry that I truly believe has the capacity to do this more than any other given the technological, behavioural and data trends that we are experiencing. And I love that we all have something in common with the dreams and aspirations of Will.i.am. We just need to ensure we give it time and space to flourish. Brilliant creativity is a short cut to success. Einstein said “Logic will take you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”
[Watch Jackie discuss her new role.]
Jackie Cooper is global chair, creative strategy.
Image by Eva Rinaldi.