Brilliant tips on creativity from MSQ’s Creative Council LIVE

Last week the MSQ offices around the world came together for MSQ Creative Council LIVE, a day celebrating the very best in creativity from all around the group.   

With events, presentations, showcases and new initiatives launched on the day, this was an important day in the recent history of MSQ. Coming off the back of successive record years, we’re growing fast and we’re creating more than ever – and it’s important to take time to recognise that, share ideas and inspire each other to create even bigger and better going forward too.

We loved seeing all the footage coming in from Creative Council LIVE events around the world (check out a select few photos in our gallery below). Alongside exhibitions in Singapore, caricaturists in Manchester, presentations in Belfast, knowledge sharing sessions in Leeds, roundtables in Edinburgh and panel debates in New York, we also turned our Bow ST HQ into a gallery space, showcasing the breadth and depth of work that helps our clients get closer to customers…

As part of the afternoon schedule in Bow, I was lucky enough to host a Q&A with some of our Creative Council representatives; 4 brilliant creative leaders from Brave Spark, MBAstack, MSQ/Sustain and Smarts, each of whom shared their thoughts on the current and future state of creativity within our industry.

And whilst there are many thousands of words I could write now to cover off everything that was discussed, I thought I’d pick out 5 thoughts that stuck with me from the chat…

Be Curious

The purpose of Creative Council LIVE was to give our teams exposure to work from around the MSQ world that they may not be familiar with. Our agencies are creating so much diverse and interesting stuff, it can be hard to keep up. What’s more, it can be hard to dedicate the time to being immersed in other work full stop, when there’s so much to get your head down and do yourself. But it’s vital. To understand what’s new and what’s possible. ‘Be curious’ isn’t a big reveal or mind-blowing insight, but it’s an important reminder because we all know that curiosity levels can slip.

Diverse talent makes everyone better

We don’t have DEI targets and recruitment policies in place just because it’s the right thing to do (though it is very much the right thing to do!). Our panel all emphasised the importance in hiring skillsets, perspectives and experiences that are different to what we currently have in our departments. Brilliant ideas don’t come from people vigorously agreeing with each other. You don’t all want to be fishing for ideas in similarly shaped ponds. Hiring interesting, unique and differently built thinkers is the best way to keep you inspired and motivated going forward.

Find the beauty in every brief

Every project you get given won’t necessarily be one that wins Cannes Lions Gold. But that doesn’t mean you can’t add something that pushes the boundaries of every brief. At MSQ we’re lucky to work with clients of all shapes and sizes, in industries from travel to tech, liquor to logistics. And every single one offers opportunities. “Sometimes the best briefs are the ones you least expect,” one of our panelists explained, “so if the sector isn’t known for doing great work, then be the one that comes up with the sector defining idea. If the budget is restrictive, create the work that will win the ‘best low-budget idea’ category.” Sometimes a work will come across your desk that ‘just needs to get done’, but ‘just get done’ never needs to be the starting point.

AI isn’t going to steal your job (yet)…

…but it could massively help you get better at it. It’s impossible to have any conversation around creation right now that doesn’t touch upon AI, and the panel all recognised the leaps and bounds that offerings such as ChatGPT can provide. Whilst the requirement for human understanding means we’re not going to be losing our jobs to a computer any time soon, it can make elements of our job better. So embrace AI, was the message from our panel. Use it for better jumping off points, use it for stimulus, use it for some of the more inane parts of your work, if it means you can then spend more time focusing on the ideas that will really affect change.

The beauty of hybrid working is in the eye of the beholder

Just as AI was always going to inevitably be covered, you can’t have a panel that doesn’t talk ways of working post-Covid. The shift away from WFH is gathering pace and the panel saw merits here – an agency should be a creative hub, where you’re able to bounce ideas off each other and benefit from the ‘vibe of the office’ (it’s also pretty hard not to be inspired when you’re lucky to be based as we are in the heart of Covent Garden!)… but does that means WFH is dead? Not necessarily. Some creatives need the peace and quiet, the focus time to really work up ideas too. If you can get the balance right for you, then embrace that.