The joy of mak­ing

Thanks to lay­ers upon lay­ers of non­sense, the sim­ple has be­come com­plex and we are mov­ing fur­ther away from what we do best: mak­ing stuff

Campaign UK - - NEWS - WAYNE DEAKIN Ex­ec­u­tive creative di­rec­tor, AKQA @deak­in_a­hoy

Iam so bored with sto­ries about the end of our in­dus­try as we know it and the rise of man­age­ment con­sul­tants. It’s all be­gin­ning to feel like a Star Wars plot – with us as the rebel forces against con­sul­tants from the su­pe­rior mech­a­nised Em­pire.

Con­sul­tants can con­tinue to con­sult, for all I care. They can en­joy nod­ding in meet­ings and strik­ing deals in search of that new-busi­ness model nir­vana.

I’m more in­ter­ested in some­thing that’s more beau­ti­ful and al­lur­ing. Some­thing sim­ple and au­then­tic.

The joy of ac­tu­ally mak­ing stuff.

Guess I’m naïve, but I didn’t get into our in­dus­try to con­sult. Did you?

I love the act of mak­ing. I love what we do. We make stuff. Won­der­ful stuff. Ex­cit­ing stuff. Even cul­ture-chang­ing and in­no­va­tive stuff.

Stuff that touches peo­ple’s feel­ings or moves them to di­rect ac­tion.

From rich sto­ries that make you laugh or cry to beau­ti­ful ex­pe­ri­ences that move you to go jog­ging or get fit. The pride of cre­at­ing some­thing tan­gi­ble is fan­tas­tic.

There’s an un­pre­ten­tious joy in mak­ing.

It’s also good for your soul. You can find your­self in a men­tal and spir­i­tual zone where you lose track of time and get ab­sorbed in a task – your mind hap­pily f looded with thoughts re­lated to ac­com­plish­ing the work ahead.

It’s only hu­man to feel this way when we use and ex­pand our skills. An in­creas­ing num­ber of so­cial sci­en­tists con­firm that cre­ativ­ity has a vi­tal role in fruit­ful lives and suc­cess­ful so­ci­eties. It’s also fun­da­men­tal to build­ing long-last­ing trust in re­la­tion­ships.

The joy of mak­ing is the joy of self-ex­pres­sion, the joy of prob­lem-solv­ing, the joy of chal­lenge and, most im­por­tantly, the joy of man­i­fest­ing your vi­sion and of­fer­ing it to oth­ers to share.

I re­mem­ber the first TV spot I ever made and the sense of sat­is­fac­tion in shar­ing that with my mum, who didn’t have a clue what I did. Think back to when your mates couldn’t be­lieve you had a part in some­thing they had shared. Re­mem­ber the joy of see­ing an idea that was once a thought on a wall flour­ish to life in full HD glory. Re­mem­ber a client hav­ing the faith in you to make some­thing, then see­ing them re­warded as your work grew their mar­ket share.

There’s a cer­tain won­der­ment and ela­tion in the art of mak­ing. A joy in find­ing like-minded peo­ple who trust your vi­sion and work long and hard to help make it even bet­ter.

It’s also where you wit­ness the trans­for­ma­tional power of ideas com­ing to life. Like beau­ti­ful wild things that emerge from cu­ri­ous places, ideas need nur­tur­ing and care. They crave love, trust and the right cul­ture and tal­ent.

And let’s not over­look the se­cret weapon of craft. Let’s not for­get that craft is in the de­tails that res­onate with the au­di­ence, that cre­ate a sense of en­dur­ing qual­ity and value, and that sink deep into your be­ing.

At­ten­tion to craft can el­e­vate even the great­est idea. On the other hand, cut­ting cor­ners can ruin the same great idea and re­duce its ef­fec­tive­ness. It seems that we’re be­com­ing ever-more di­vorced from the joy of mak­ing. There are lay­ers upon lay­ers of non­sense that make the sim­ple com­plex.

The dis­trac­tions of tar­gets and prof­itabil­ity can eas­ily get in the way, if you let them. Of course, they are es­sen­tial, but re­mem­ber to en­joy the jour­ney and cel­e­brate the joy of mak­ing. Don’t mask that from your clients in some great mys­tery – in­vite them to be part of the joy so they un­der­stand why craft is im­per­a­tive and why tiny de­tails make all the dif­fer­ence.

Mak­ing is a process that is as much about self-dis­cov­ery, self-ful­fill­ment and self-ac­tu­al­i­sa­tion as the end re­sult – one that strength­ens bonds be­tween client and agency, leader and team.

Sure, the shape of busi­ness mod­els will shift and trans­form. Sure, some parts of our in­dus­try might shrink or be lost in the trans­for­ma­tion jour­ney. But the art of mak­ing is a pow­er­ful and fu­ture-proof­ing glue for both agency and client. The mak­ing process in its own right of­fers a com­pet­i­tive edge.

I am op­ti­mistic about the fu­ture. So long as we em­power ideas and cham­pion craft, we will re­main an at­trac­tive des­ti­na­tion for bril­liant tal­ent to make work that is in­ter­est­ing, trail­blaz­ing and rel­e­vant. The joy of mak­ing should be some­thing that’s cel­e­brated and shared much more of­ten, don’t you think?

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