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

Behind Every Clean Process, Is A Mass Of Messy

I love chaos.

Always have.

In fact, my approach to work can be summed up in 3 words.

Culture. Chaos. Creativity.

And yet, I do appreciate the importance of some sort of process … some sort of systematic thinking in terms of approach … because ultimately we are in the commercial creativity business, so we need some guide rails to ensure we’re heading in the right direction, even if I am removing any specific destination.

Where things go wrong is when people care more about the process than what the process is supposed to create.

Where systematic thinking goes from direction to dictation.

That’s when things go wrong.

That’s when potential and ambition are killed in the quest for control.

But here’s the thing …

For all the processes talked about.

For all the proprietary tools hyped.

The system agencies tend to end up adopting – even when they’re hidden inside a beautifully constructed, clearly planned out, client facing framework – is this.

This is not a criticism.

To get to somewhere new … somewhere interesting and intriguing … you have to take a leap of faith at some point, even in the most well-organised, well thought-out of processes.

Some people don’t like admitting that.

Some people don’t want the pragmatism of creativity to overshadow the ego of their process.

Some people don’t even want to accept creativity rarely follows a straight line through the entire process.

And yet it is creativities ability to solve problems in lateral ways that makes it so valuable and powerful, which is why for me, those who are comfortable with uncomfortable are the ones who create the most enduring ideas for brands, business and culture.

And the ones who aren’t?

Well they tend to be the ones who use words like operationalize or optimise or codify or, the old classic, ‘proprietary tools and processes’ a lot … the ones who want to feel in control, despite the fact what they’re actually saying is they want to replicate creativity rather than ignite it.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s always some element of process in any development of creativity – whatever form that manifests – but there’s also messiness and chaos and to remove that, not make room for that or go around that is either a lie or an act against the incredibly infectious possibilities of creativity.

As Martin and I said at Cannes, chaos creates what order can’t.

17 Comments so far
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Funny. That diagram also captures your dress sense as well.

Comment by Bazza

Actually it also reflects his overall fashion look, especially when attending events that require absolute dress sense order. Though I don’t know whether he bothers turning up to those things any more.

Comment by George

Do people even invite hiim to those things anymore?

Comment by Bazza

Not invited and wouldn’t attend if I was.

So not much has really changed. Ha.

Comment by Rob

This has been a rather amazing week of posts Robert. This is a brilliant way to end it. Your last 2 paragraphs in particular are the most honest explanations of how creativity works or should be allowed to work. Bravo.

Comment by George

Thanks matey. Sure I probably stole it off you in the first place.

Comment by Rob

Echoing George’s comment. This has been a wonderful week of heartfelt and thought provoking posts. Thank you.

It feels you are in a very good place in your life at the moment. You deserve it and thanks to your generosity, you let everyone else benefit from it as well.

Comment by Lee Hill

Funny, I was saying that to Jill yesterday. Not that I’ve had particularly hard times – especially compared to others – but it does feel this is a pretty good period, especially after some of the things I experienced and saw in America.

Comment by Rob

You taught me the value of chaos Rob. You taught me I shouldn’t see it as the enemy but as a friend. Not enough people talk about creativity in these terms. The preference appears getting in the weeds of process, though I fear the outcome is talented people getting lost in it while believing they are being effective. Making room for chaos is still one of the most valuable lessons I have learnt on my crazy journey.

Thanks for this week.

Comment by Pete

You know Rob isn’t your boss anymore.

Comment by Bazza

I’m with Baz.

I am incredibly touched Pete – especially as there is no benefit for you to tell me now [sorry if you thought otherwise] – but you did a bunch of brilliant stuff for me and us, so why don’t we call it even?

Comment by Rob

Last time I even think of giving you a compliment.

Comment by Pete

I love the chaos. I know that it’s vital to the way I do and make the thing I do. But it’s also exhausting.

Comment by Marcus.

Try doing chaos with Rob, then it becomes deadly.

Comment by Bazza

So your posts are chaotic, but our comments provide value. Good point.

Comment by John

campbell. you are the fucking chaos.

Comment by andy@cynic


Comment by DH

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