How does the jump to CCO change your role at Organic?
I think the last year has been one of transition and we've been really figuring out how we work, what our process has been and the type of work we want to do. And I think that's all in response to what's happening in the market and how agencies collaborate and work with clients. My role is really going to be to make sure we continue doing that and the work is doing that and to drive the work towards better creative and design. We were in a typical agency model of having very long envision phases before changing and a number of us here questioned what we could actually do within these time frames. We wanted to work quicker and leaner and adapt a much more product development mentality, so when we get to the end of an envision phase, we have something tangible in our hands that we could learn from and the client can learn from. It's just getting into the mentality of always being in beta – always trying new stuff out and trying to find the value in it. And when it's not working, having the agility to re-examine and adapt.
What are your creative goals for Organic in the near future?
The way we're thinking now is really to be channel agnostic, really put the idea first. That's really important for us to mature as an agency, I think we need to be talking about bigger ideas besides sites and banners. And we're doing that and starting to get some traction on it, so my goal is to make sure we keep doing it.
We've stepped a bit outside our domain, and what's interesting is we've had to sort of realign our skills to adapt. Storytelling is obviously a huge part of advertising and for us, as a digital agency, we were telling stories online but probably in a very different way. So we've been working a lot on becoming better overall storytellers. My interest in digital has always been in the activities you can do beyond that simple message, like sharing, creating, talking community--all of it added to the message.
How has digital creative work changed over the last few years and how do you see it evolving?
Well, I started with Razorfish back in London and back then we were a very young industry, very immature in a lot of ways, just trying to figure out what we were doing. There was always a lot of suggesting things to clients that weren't all that realistic. For example, back in 1999 there was talk of interactive TV and it's just barely arriving now, so I think back then the primary screen was the desktop. Now, I look at where the type of work we do lives on something like 16 different touchpoints – desktop, mobile devices, kiosks – it's just an endless list of ways to get in front of a customer. That said, I think some of the best work comes from the game space. We've done some work with PlayStation and, while much of the focus is on what happens within the console, we've been looking at what you can do when it's off. The experience shouldn't end there. There's a community that revolves around many of these multi-player games, so what can we bring to that? So we've been extending those game experiences into essentially site-based experiences so they can build that community into an almost fantasy league type aspect. But it's not a huge leap to say that experience can be brought to the TV screen through the connected console.
It's such an exciting space to work in, that as long as we keep that playful attitude towards our work and experimental aspect of what we're doing instead of just resorting to the tried, the trend and the tested, I think that's where we can have a lot of traction.