Barry Lustig
May 20, 2016

Creativity in Japan: A perspective on dealing with change

Barry Lustig, managing partner of Cormorant Group KK, an Asia-Pacific focused brand and strategy consultancy, explains the thinking behind a new series in collaboration with Campaign Japan on the changing nature of Japanese creativity.

The 'Creativity in Japan' series comprises seven interviews with leading figures from the worlds of technology, consulting, advertising and production
The 'Creativity in Japan' series comprises seven interviews with leading figures from the worlds of technology, consulting, advertising and production

To mark the launch of Campaign Japan, David Blecken, Campaign Japan's executive editor, and I have put together a series of interviews with some of the most creative and accomplished minds in our profession.

We will feature creative leaders from agencies large and small, production companies who make us look better than we usually are, strategic consultancies whose influence on our industry continues to grow, and tech giants who shape the way we behave. 

Each interview has a distinct voice. Each leader is concerned with a different set of questions and priorities. Yet the series as a whole emphasises common themes about the special nature of Japanese creativity, and by implication, where Japanese advertising is heading as an industry.

The views we highlight are designed to inspire a brilliant future for our companies and ourselves. At the same time, it’s our hope that the leaders we speak with will help us all to reaffirm the value and purposefulness in the work we do day-to-day. Whatever direction our industry takes in the future, we have no choice but to build upon the deep foundation of creativity, collaboration and craft that has and will continue to drive us.

We are all thinking about what direction we are headed and how to respond to what comes next. But our anticipation of a bold and interconnected future, where the ways we now work become obsolete, is often blunted by the reality that the sky has been falling on our industry for quite some time. Unfortunately, the call for revolution has been a bit too shrill to motivate most of us to take the steps necessary to transform ourselves and our companies.

As a practical matter, discussions about company and industry transformation can be paralyzing. More often than not the foundation of these conversation is fear of failure rather than optimism about the opportunities ahead.

Maybe it would be helpful to start conversations about the future with the question “What don't we want to change?” Or put more directly, what aspects of ourselves and the companies in which we work do we value most? How do we preserve our best and most enduring qualities as we move forward? That we need to reconsider many if not most aspects of our work to remain competitive is a given. Constructing sturdy boats to navigate changing tides is a more complicated proposition.

It’s our hope that the brilliance of the creative leaders we feature will help us rediscover what’s best about ourselves as we undergo our collective metamorphosis.

The Creativity in Japan series opens with an interview with Akira Kagami, executive advisor to Drill.

Read this article in Japanese on Campaign Japan.


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