Thoughts on Delivering Creativity 1: Digital and Communicating Culture

Particularly for the digital agency, a website, blog or equivalent is perhaps the main touchpoint at their disposal for communicating culture to prospective clients and employees, as well as a device through which to reinforce culture internally. For example, a website can show off design skills, portfolios, clients, awards and individual creds. A blog gives the agency a voice and an opinion through the writings and musings of employees. It can be a useful way of generating new business, joining in to the โ€˜many-to-manyโ€™ conversations going on online. It provides a platform on which to communicate brand ideals, personality, business models and credentials. It should be carefully managed, contributing regularly to pertinent debates with other bloggers or agency professionals and interacting with the online community they are working with.

Further, technology forms culture through the way in which people can communicate with one another. In a lot of ways, the
culture in agencies has become much closer, where people are contactable at all times and in all places on the phone, online and through email. Design changes can be made on the fly, almost in real time by communicating over the internet. This brings a closeness to the interaction of cultures not contingent on physical interaction. However, it could perhaps also be considered to weaken cultures, if the only method of communication is virtual. In a lot of instances it is not necessary for partners working on a project to actually meet, although perhaps for a successful relationship, interpersonal chemistry should be sought in ‘real lifeโ€™.

Essentially, more ways of communicating should result in more and better communication, not laziness: one of the many, speaking to the many, in many ways.


Long Time No Blog

May and June have been pretty busy. Here’s some of the stuff I’ve been up to:

Series of Papers on Delivering Creativity: Coming Soon


I’ve written a series of four papers around the topic of Delivering Creativity in an Advertising Creativity context, as a combined piece of PhD/Organisational Ethnography/Consultancy work. This has taken up the largest chunk of my time – and I’ve not really been able to blog anything on it as I’m tied up with a NDA and the work is being developed iteratively amongst myself, the agency and my professors. The papers cover topics including:

The Digital Advertising Industry Macro-Environment: Challenges, Boundaries and Systems
Digital and the Economic Climate
The Role of Organisational Culture in Delivering Creative Services: Tacit/Silent Running, Interpretive Repertoires and Communicating Creativity through Culture
A Systems View of Creativity
Bounded Creativity
Processes, Boundaries and Ownership in Delivering Creativity
Managing Relationships: Delivering Creativity through the Agency-Client Relationship; Managing Partners/Suppliers/Individuals

They are currently under review but will hopefully be rolled out over the next month or so. So, watch this space – I think they should be a good read.

Design, Production, Music

DOS Screenshot

Wagtale completed their final Lancaster gigs in June alongside the timely release of their demo EP ‘Dreams of Spacestations’. We recorded and produced the six track album ourselves at the Jack Hylton studios in Lancaster. The tracks will be available online at for a short while and you can order the EP by emailing me or twittering @joeadamfry, priced at ยฃ5, postage contingent.

Singing on Stage at the Royal Festival Hall

Mention in Saturday 20 July’s Guardian as ‘a guy who wanted to sing a Britney Spears song’ in John Walter’s world music review. The gig was awesome, Ornette Coleman played – and singing with Bobby was one of the best things I’ve ever done I think.

“McFerrin never played it safe: he asked audience members on stage to dance while he devised a score. Another 10 volunteers went up to duet with him, including someone who knew the tune but not all the words to Over the Rainbow (McFerrin never worries about singing all the words); a guy who wanted to sing a Britney Spears song; and a girl whose indie wail worked beautifully with McFerrin’s chameleon-like bass riff”

If you’ve never heard of him – he’s the guy who released Don’t Worry Be Happy – this is the sort of thing he does live though. Watch it in HQ, it’s quite something.

Hyde Park/Southbank Centre/Rock Werchter

In the past three weeks I have seen some of my favourite bands, and some classics as well. Rodriguez y Gabriella, Mogwai, Dave Matthews Band (twice), Oasis, Coldplay, The Killers, Bruce Springsteen, Metallica, Bloc Party, Bobby McFerrin, Jason Mraz, The Prodigy.