“Sometimes the ideas that help you survive, trap you”. This was the opening statement Mark Pollard, VP of Brand Strategy at Big Spaceship, made to the audience at the second annual eat:Strategy conference in Toronto. The conference focuses on converging multi disciplinary minds from various agencies for a daylong session of talks, all in the spirit of enlightening us on how their expertise can help better shape strategies for clients (for more tidbits on the conference, read Jen Chow’s recap).
Mark’s talk was geared towards people who are currently, or have been, trapped in a “toxic” advertising environment (you know the kind), and how affecting change correlates to how you behave. The latter point is a human truth I believe many of us can relate to.
Tired of the constant “jazz hands” he had to front to clients, Mark finally found his calling at Big Spaceship, a creative agency in Brooklyn, which was named one of the world’s most innovative companies by Fast Company. The formula for Big Spaceship’s success is not a complicated one. It starts with the psychology of the organization. More precisely, how the team at Big Spaceship behaves.
If new behaviours compel new ideas, according to Mark, then how should we, as aspiring change agents, think and act? For starters, Big Spaceship, is completely decentralised and does not have a creative department. They do not have a production department, either. They sit in cross-functional teams. They play by the rule that there is no politics at the agency, focusing only on what they need to get done. As Mark said numerous times, “we just get on with it.”
Lastly, if change matters, don’t service it with lips. At Nurun Toronto, the strategy team is quite nascent. Like Big Spaceship, we think and act like a start up. We don’t trap ourselves with processes. Instead, we strive towards working with entrepreneurial, cultural and design values, which we are currently defining, to ensure we produce quality work that aligns to our POV quickly and often, and to validate and learn in the same cadence. That’s how we behave.