A creative network of the idea, by the idea, for the idea

Monday, March 9, 2009

The right question.

At the beginning of the movie I, Robot, there is scene with the following dialogue:
Dr. Alfred Lanning: Good to see you again, son.
Detective Del Spooner: Hello, doctor.
Dr. Alfred Lanning: Everything that follows is a result of what you see here.
Detective Del Spooner: Is there something you want tell me?
Dr. Alfred Lanning: I'm sorry. My responses are limited. You must ask the right questions.
Detective Del Spooner: Why did you call me?
Dr. Alfred Lanning: I trust your judgement.
Detective Del Spooner: Normally, these circumstances wouldn't require a homicide detective.
Dr. Alfred Lanning: But then our interactions have never been entirely normal. Wouldn't you agree?
Detective Del Spooner: You got that right... Is there something you want say to me?
Dr. Alfred Lanning: [the camera rotates around Lanning, revealing him to be a hologram] I'm sorry. My responses are limited. You must ask the right questions.
Detective Del Spooner: Why would you kill yourself?
Dr. Alfred Lanning: That, detective, is the right question. Program terminated.
The idea of asking the right question and getting the right answer has always fascinated me. So, as a creative set to find the right agency to work for, what’s the right question to ask?

It's not about the accounts, that much I know. You could have the most creative account but if leadership or talent are missing inside the agency, you won’t do much.

A more difficult one is whether to go for the name of the agency. While I believe that the classic agencies like Ogilvy, Leo Burnett or Sattchi & Sattchi are good schools of advertising thought, big agencies are handicapped by mindless bureaucracy and good ideas gets lost amongst too much politics.

So what makes an agency ideal to grow and nurture our creativity?
I believe that it’s the agency ecosystem.
That ecosystem is a balanced environment where all the units are integrated and interact so a flow of energy leads to rewarding expressions of creativity.
A habitat where leadership creates an environment where everybody is able to reach creative potential.
  • Where leadership feels responsible for the growth of the entire community.
  • Where people feel safe to be wrong and supported to try again.
  • Where leaders embrace diversity in thinking that fosters independent growth.
  • This will create an environment that promotes creativity by the community, who shares and discusses ideas and projects to create the results they truly desire.
  • Where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, collective aspiration is set free, and people are continually learning how to learn. (see here)
This ecosystem of creativity will sustain its own growth, because is managed by the community with smart supervision.

This creative driven culture is not new and you can find it at play in some agencies today; Razorfish, Big Spaceship, Zemoga, Poke, TBWA, The Barbarian Group or Goodby and in some corporations like Google, Pixar, Apple, GE or Amazon and Nokia.

Since we are talking about nature, I'll ask you to think of atoms. An atom in a specific environment will become just a rock, but the same atom interacting in the right environment turns into a diamond.

It's all about what surrounds us. It's the difference between being a rock and a diamond.

I think the right question for every creative to ask today is; what sustains the ecosystem in the agency?

That, detective, is the right question. Program terminated.


  1. What defines an innovative company? answer here:

  2. Thanks for giving me new tactics I can implement. Information was very useful.

  3. Interesting.
    I was also intrigued by this scene in iRobot.
    The idea that the answer you seek is veiled only by the means you in which you attempt to seek it.

    Ironically enough, with search engines the same is true. Our own real iRobot.

    I stumbled here querying this scene from the movie as well. It's good to know, that as large as the web community is, there are ties that bind.