Wendy Clark
Jun 15, 2022

Wendy Clark: Connected creativity is as fundamental to us as sleep

Creativity doesn’t just help to solve business problems, it is like oxygen that keeps an organisation alive, Dentsu International’s global CEO says. This is the latest essay in our series by agency chiefs ahead of Cannes Lions.

Wendy Clark: Connected creativity is as fundamental to us as sleep

In 1963, San Diego high school student Randy Gardner conducted what would become one of the more famous sleep deprivation studies ever undertaken. With the help of Stanford researcher William Dent, Randy had no sleep for 11 days. The impact of no sleep was immediate. By the second day he had trouble focusing. By the third day his speech was slurring. By the fourth day he started hallucinating. He had regular medical check-ups throughout. There was nothing medically wrong with him, but he was confused, disoriented and obviously not himself.

To talk about the importance of creativity in the ad business is like talking about the importance of sleep in our lives. Without it, we lack focus and purpose; our work is forgettable and lacks impact; as individuals, and a community, we are anything but our best selves.

Creativity is not the purview of a few, it is the responsibility and privilege of each of us in this industry. The very essence of creativity is to imagine and create ideas and solutions where they didn’t previously exist. As the challenges in the world and society become more urgent, it’s hard to imagine a more worthy and important discipline than creativity. And just as the teams in our creative agencies imagine never-before social, episodic and product creativity, so, too, do the teams in our media agencies imagine never-before insights, platforms and connections for compelling consumer engagement, as do the teams in our CXM agencies imagine never-before loyalty programmes, and rich commerce and consumer experiences. 

All of this is creativity. As renowned physician and philosopher, Edward de Bono, said: “There is no doubt that creativity is the most important human resource of all. Without creativity, there would be no progress, and we would be forever repeating the same patterns.” Which is why, at Dentsu, we’re building a modern agency network fuelled by horizontal creativity – that’s creativity designed to unify our people, their capabilities and our delivery for clients. 

Spearheading this effort is Fred Levron, global chief creative officer of Dentsu International, who joined us just six months ago and is already making a profound impact on our people, our ways of working and our work itself. 

Fred’s remit includes and transcends our creative agencies. Together with him, we are connecting creativity horizontally across the entire Dentsu International ecosystem – all 45,000 of our associates in our creative, media and CXM disciplines – because this is the integrated creative delivery that is fundamental to our business success and to our people doing the best work of their careers. This is where we gain focus, purpose, and become our best selves. Indeed, just as fundamental and impactful to us as having sleep. 

Dentsu will be 121 years old on 1 July, with a Japanese pedigree of relentless focus on craft, innovation, and creativity. It is this rich legacy and example that has inspired our vision for modern creativity at Dentsu International, creativity that was born in Japan and now raised in a connected world. 

Already published: Omnicom CEO John Wren: People are the backbone of our industry

Publishing tomorrow (15 June): Mark Read, chief executive, WPP


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