The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Creative Tension
July 31, 2006, 9:58 am
Filed under: Comment

I recently got an email from Russell Davies, telling me abit about his new venture OIA … because I’d mentioned that I knew one of his colleagues from a past life.

In his note, he said one of the reasons he really liked Emily [OIA partner] was that they come from completely opposite points of view … and this got me thinking about the people I work/worked with.

Without doubt, my best ‘stuff’ is when I collaberate with people who share a common philosophy, but have completely different viewpoints on ‘how to get there’. 

This means we debate, challenge – and truth be known – argue like buggers  … creating a tension that often leads to us creating something far more powerful than if we were all ‘happy-chappies’ simply following the ‘safe’.

I guess that in some ways, it’s a similar dynamic that led to bands like The Who … The Stones … Fleetwood Mac … Guns ‘n’ Roses [etc] creating such powerful music.

The tension [and occasional, downright hatred] between band members, often drove them to demand more and more from the music they were creating [as well as the people they were creating it with] … resulting in them getting to ‘places’ which they never imagined in their wildest dreams.

Lets face it, ‘My Generation’ wouldn’t have the power of an atom being split, if Townsend got on with everyone in the band.

My concern is that many people in advertising [especially the multinational mob] only work with those they ‘get on with’ … and whilst I totally understand that … I also believe companies have to encourage collaberation between the individuals with radically different points of view … because as long as the same end goal is the focus, the results could be magical – for the agency, the client and the consumer.

Bring back the tension!  Bring back the spark!  Bring back the creativity!

6 Comments so far
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That to me is the key problem with agencies (especially big ones, as you say) hiring people that fit the ideas they already have.

How can you challenge the Status Quo if you simply hire the same thinking that is already there?

The band analogy is totally accurate.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

I remember my old planning boss hiring an ex-pig feed salesman because he said he probably knew more about understanding and communicating with the ‘general public’ than we did.

We all thought he was mad. He wasn’t …

Comment by Rob

Ok since the author of this website has already announced that this Russell Davies fan club website will have no updates for a while, you guys can visit my blog for some reads at

Oh I totally agree about the hiring people to create tension. And RM, I recently experienced this with a London based Strategy outfit recently, they felt that everyone at the place had to have the same ‘Dials’ turned up at the same level to fit in. Thought that was rather strange as they spend all their time convincing clients to be creative.

Comment by Hari

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[…] ago – 2006, to be precise – I wrote about how the creative tension in the band The Who, pushed them to demand more from the music they were creating – as well as the people they […]

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