Jason Lonsdale: Those lovely folks at B&T have asked us to write a column. Together.
Damon Stapleton: Together?
JL: Yep. Together.
DS: So what shall we write about?
DS: What the fuck are you talking about?
JL: Together – we write about working together.
DS: Ah, ok. Partnership… finding the right people to work with… getting them to gel together etc
JL: We could talk about how great ideas come from the intersection of disciplines, from the bits where we all meet and talk and say “what about?”, not from some linear relay-race of a brief from one department to another. Oh, and we could refer to that great Steven Johnson book too…
DS: And we can talk about the value of the ‘in between’, that weird space you create with the right people, where you feel comfortable. This leads you to bravery and laughter and the most important type of idea, The Stupid Idea. That’s how you get somewhere different, somewhere new.
All those times in a brainstorm where someone makes a joke and, while everybody is laughing, one person says, well, what if we actually did that? You stop laughing and start smiling because an idea is staring at you.
It’s like how cracks let the light in. You can be in a room full of people in violent agreement and 9 times out of 10 you get blah. Normally, it’s somebody who has a different view to you that will create a new space to explore.
JL: We should cover off how agencies need a greater diversity of skills than ever before. Obviously, what a planner brings to a discussion will be different from what a creative brings will be different from what a technologist brings, but the real magic comes from the fact that they are all banging different shit together.
DS: Yep. Very few campaigns are created by one or two people any more. You need the right people in the room no matter what their job title is, and you need everybody to check their egos and be equal before the idea.
JL: So maybe the main argument is about agencies developing symbiotic, collaborative relationships between departments, and maybe even re-thinking the whole notion of departments?
DS: We could make it pretty simple: in agencies there are departments and there are people that meet on the stairs. Some people send a lot of e-mails, and some come and talk to you.
Great work comes from conversations, not a paper trail. Ideas always begin with the question ‘What if?’ Processes and departments don’t answer that question. People do.
JL: OK, that all sounds good. But how the fuck are we actually going to write this piece?
From left: Damon Stapleton is ECD and Jason Lonsdale is executive planning director at Saatchi & Saatchi