Madhukar Sabnavis
Feb 01, 2011

Madhukar Sabnavis' Blog: Camaraderie, Competition And Chaos

A great idea often needs someone 'stupid' to defend it to make it see the light of day.

Madhukar Sabnavis' Blog: Camaraderie, Competition And Chaos

People often wonder, how do these co-exist in the advertising world? One needs to understand how creative minds operate to appreciate this paradox.

Creative minds live in a world of disruption and chaos. By nature, they need to break from the past and the rules of the present to create something new. They need to zag when the world zigs, they need to question when people feel they have the answer, they need to reject when every one finds something acceptable. Competitive spirit- to be better than the past, better than others and better than what one has last achieved- are big motivators of creative minds. It is through this turmoil that something new emerges that has not be done before or thought of before. In that context, it is surprising how the organizations exist in the agency space. Organizations by definition are about bringing structure and systems in life and creative minds work as an antithesis to it. Teamwork in agencies works very differently from manufacturing organizations. It’s not about working seamlessly together but more about a process of friction between business, consumer and creative needs from which emerges a new idea or creative solution that blazes the market place. The successful ones may be few but the quest is perpetual.

Creative minds in advertising agencies face yet another challenge. They are constantly being judged. Their creations- their babies- are openly commented open, criticized and rejected- often by people, in the creative’s minds, incapable of coming up with an original thought on their own. Yet, commercial business says they must accept it. And they do but steel themselves with a sense of self that makes them seem egocentric and, at times, stubborn. A great idea often needs someone ‘stupid’ to defend it to make it see the light of day. Consensus often spells death.

In such circumstances, it’s not surprising to see creative minds seeking affiliation through partners. In an idea world, there are no rights and wrongs. And hence creative minds reach out to those who can empathize with them and encourage them. And provide them with the emotional space to experiment and bloom. The feeling of camaraderie is often driven by this need.

Creative minds can conveniently live with chaos, competition and camaraderie with ease. It’s no contradiction!

So to expect agency associations filled with creative minds to function like their manufacturing brethren is not only misplaced but wrong. If the power of creativity comes from the spirit of disruption and affiliation- often with opposites happily co-existing, one must accept this spirit spilling over into the groups they form. They need to be viewed differently. Let’s keep our structured mindsets aside and revel in the contradictions. To expect harmony may mean the death of creativity.

Something worth thinking about.

Campaign India

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