How to create a safe and supportive working environment

In order to come up with the risky ideas that clients desperately need today, creatives need to feel supported. CR talks to adam&eveDDB’s Rick Brim and Accept & Proceed’s Lily Fletcher about overcoming fear in the workplace

Illustration: Andrew Werndna

Rick Brim is Chief Creative ­Officer at adam&eveDDB. For the past six years, he has been part of the team responsible for crafting the John ­Lewis Christmas ad, bringing us ­Monty the Penguin, Man on the Moon, Bear and the Hare, Moz the Monster, and last year’s Elton John spot, The Boy and the ­Piano.

It’s fair to say he’s been pretty successful in his career, but he still has to confront fear on a regular basis, whether it’s the fear that comes with pitching to clients (something he admits he still finds “incredibly scary”) or the kind that comes with taking creative risks, such as making Elton John the star of the John Lewis Christmas ad in 2018 after a run of successful campaigns featuring animals, cuddly toys and cute kids.

“That was terrifying, because we’d always set a rule [with the John Lewis ad] that we weren’t going to tell our own stories, and there we were telling Elton John’s ­story backwards. The whole way through, we were going, ‘I like this film – but is it right?’”