A different sort of creativity

Humans fascinate me, and that’s why I love advertising. It lets me tap into a variety of mindsets and industries, to understand what people are thinking. It requires empathy and the ability to uncover what is going on in people’s minds. It’s not easy, and there is a lot of thought and research behind it.

Research. That thing that is neglected in (most) ad schools. In my three years studying advertising in university, there was a lot of focus on campaigns and apps, on the next big thing, on insane artsy projects, but research? Ugh, god forbid! We were told time and time again to look for the insight, but there was no instruction on how to actually find it. We had a handful of classes that briefly mentioned a few planning methodologies as part of one project, and that was it. One project. In a three-year course. That’s a slap in our pretty strategist faces.

So you can probably imagine how refreshing it was for me to join Sword & Stone, and see up close how much importance they place in research, to find out what actually matters to people. It’s been really exciting seeing how creativity is used from the very beginning to create something new and unique. It’s been great to learn new methods of extracting useful information from people, beyond my experience in digital. Because if advertising is about people, then understanding them is really important.

Most importantly, being here has shown me what creativity really means. It’s not the nonsense, outrageous and often ridiculous work I was led to believe as uber-creative during my undergrad. Creativity is part of the thought process. It’s a way of approaching things, asking questions, innovating, and making connections. It is not about shocking unreservedly, it’s about making relevant, empowering and ambitious work. What a refreshing and validating thought.

James Lees