Wieden Will Open School in London

Future Is About Curiosity ... and Strategy

By Published on .

Alex Kniess Alex Kniess
Last week, myself and four other University of Oregon advertising students accompanied our adviser and chief evangelist Deb Morrison up to Portland for a special meeting with some folks from Wieden & Kennedy, London. Since Portland is the home of W&K, they were obviously in town for several reasons. One of those reasons though was to pick our brains. It turns out that over in London, W&K is innovating beyond just advertising.

I have blogged about how agencies are expanding their revenue models to go beyond "making ads." At BBH, they have Zag -- the brand-invention unit charged with creating new brands wherever the market shows a gap. At W&K's London office, and likely worldwide, the agency is also expanding its list of services. The London folks described themselves not as an advertising agency but as a communications consultancy. This evolution of the advertising agency demands a new generation of talent. But where does this talent come from? And how can you be sure they are prepared? These are questions that the London shop hopes to answer with the creation of its own school.

The goal of this school is to bring together the best people from the arts, entertainment, design, innovation, music, education and the sciences to collaborate to solve problems and learn creatively. They not only want to cultivate the next great advertisers, but also the next great creative and strategic thinkers. By bringing together people from all walks of life, unimaginable perspectives and opportunities arise.

The folks at W&K passionately believe that at the heart of this next generation lies the creative strategist. This notion transcends the borders of the school and is found in all parts of the agency. One of the women we were speaking with said that within W&K, "no matter what your role, you have to be a creative strategist."

By speaking with people from many varied disciplines and creating a thriving network of creative strategists who will contribute to the lessons and direction of the school, W&K, London, hopes to develop the most innovative creative school in the U.K. It is no secret that W&K is often at the forefront of our industry. So it is encouraging then that they are prescribing to the same philosophy of the creative strategist as we are being taught in our curriculum already.

At the heart of all of our discussions on how to best prepare the next generation of advertisers, there was one main takeaway that stood out the most: It's about curiosity.

There exists an insatiable curiosity of all things within the great thought leaders both in the industry and at the cusp of it. This curiosity is what motivates us to learn. This curiosity is what motivates us to create. And it is this curiosity that motivates us to bring everything together to try and change the world.
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