Recruiting for a creative climate

Last week I came across a short article in the International Herald Tribune which contained an interview with Michael Lebowitz, founder and chief executive of Big Spaceship, a digital marketing and communications agency.
What I found fascinating about this company, which clearly regards creativity is its key strategic asset, were the following:

 Creativity is regarded as belonging to and the responsibility of all, not just a design or development group. Everyone in invited to brainstorm for ideas and there is an attitude that everyone has something to contribute.
 Recruitment takes this into consideration and much time is spent assessing how well people will fit in to the culture and contribute as well as being flexible to roll with other ideas.
 Finally the culture is important and there are positive steps taken to foster this creative culture. For example Friday afternoons are spent, not on client work, but on working on internal ideas after sharing a joint lunch.

This culture then takes on board some of the ideas of Ekvall around creative culture and which are being developed by the CPSB – creative climate.

There is idea time, playfulness/humour, support, risk taking, and although not explicit in this article, challenge and freedom.

The big lesson for me here is that once you get the climate right for creativity to be enabled, you have to recruit people who fit with this climate and ensure that all your processes and systems also fit.

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