Creative Pioneers: Sir John Hegarty on collaboration, creativity and what’s killing great work

In this extract from his interview for our Creative Pioneers series, Sir John Hegarty discusses the problem with ‘collaboration’, tissue meetings and why when agencies tell clients they follow a patented, unique process “it’s all bollocks”

The following is an extract from a filmed interview with Sir John Hegarty created as supporting material for CR’s first online training programme, Mastering Creativity. More details about the course, which you can sign up to at any time, at the end of this post.

CR: There are quite a few agencies and design consultancies who like to talk about having a unique, patented process – ‘This is the way that we work, which is distinct from anyone else’. We wondered whether you followed a particular process in your work and, if so, how that worked?

I think that there is a process that the business goes through. At BBH we talked about – and I titled my book – ‘Turning Intelligence into Magic’. We believed that great strategic thinking aligned to magical creative execution, created fantastic, successful work. And that work converted into sales for its clients. So, we did sort of have a process and I think strategy is fundamentally important and it helped us enormously in getting to a different place that is and could be very successful for a client and its business. Because, then it allows you as a creative person to explore different ways of solving that client’s problem. But that is as far as the process goes.

I have sat in a thousand meetings where the agency has said, ‘We’ve got to have a process and let’s explain it to the client: we do this and we do that’. It is all bollocks. Honestly, it’s all bollocks.