Presenting the first ADCE White Paper, a recipe to design the creative organisation of the future
The document highlights the trends, challenges and opportunities that creative organisations need to face in order to thrive in a radical new context, and it comprises the key findings of our first Creative Incubator, launched with Pi School last year.

The Art Directors Club of Europe and Pi School are heavily invested in redefining the creative process so it can humanize technology, ensure the uniqueness of humans, and balance out the shifts of this fast-paced world. That is why in 2018 we launched, thanks to the funding of Creative Europe, the Creative Incubator, an initiative to find answers to the industry’s biggest challenges and to harvest, not creativity, which we are sure flows in your veins, but the best ecosystems for creativity to thrive.

The Creative Incubator had three modules, in Rome, Barcelona and Berlin, and 82 participants from 21 countries and different backgrounds including Creative and Art Directors, CEOs, Copywriters, Designers, Strategists, Communication and PR Consultants, Heads of Product, Researchers, Engineers, Architects, AI Advisors and Operations Officers.

Due to the extraordinary work of these participants and the incubator lecturers and mentors they worked with, we are proud to share with you the key findings of the first edition in a document that is the result of 12 months of research, interviews, exchanges and collaboration of more than 90 active participants selected from a wide range of creative segments. With the name “White Paper: Potential models to design the creative organisation of the future”, the document provides an assessment of key problems within the creative industry and recommends alternative approaches to look at organisational models, having used simulations and prototyping to spot the potential opportunities and the challenges of application.

We have outlined the key aspects of this comprehensive document here for you, but we encourage you to explore it in detail, as it is an invaluable crash course to redesign your organisation and bring it up to date with the pace of change.

A Creative Incubator that goes beyond creativity

The starting point of the incubator was the realisation that the industry’s challenges do not lie in the quality of work of its agents, and therefore in creativity, but rather in adjacent areas such as culture or business structures, so basically in the rest of the components within the ecosystem.

Drivers: why the current ecosystem is radically different and your business model needs a change

The paper first identifies four main drivers that have triggered the need for alternative business models. These are the growth of marketing technology and new dimensions of data usability, a cultural shift of consumers in relation to new media channels, the disconnect between creative talents and traditional working models and the acquisition of agencies by consulting and tech organizations.

Problems: you can’t escape them but we have some solutions!

Opportunities never arise without challenges. As a result, the paper lists four main problems that come along with those drivers: The lack of innovation culture, the lack of technological integration, the lack of client centricity and the problem of attracting talent from the upcoming generation.

Trends and tips: What is working well for others and how to implement it

After outlining a set of solutions to each of these problems the paper points out six successful trends, with tips to implement them. These trends are 1) The necessity to periodically reinvent your business model 2) The realisation that talent needs flexibility 3) The popularisation of the Inhouse-Agency model for a better understanding 4) The understanding of design as a discipline connected to everything else, and therefore a need to set up a design organisation 5) The ever-growing importance of Experiential-driven design 6) The adaptation of a startup mindset based on experimentation and failure as a way to find the right business model

Don’t have the time to read the paper? The agencies of the future in a nutshell

If going through the all the drivers, problems, solutions and trends identified by the paper feels too much for you, page 22 of the document is a great shortcut and we have summarised it, too. Here are some key aspects than can help you model your creative organisation, bearing in mind that there is no single agency model but many different models:

  • Small in size and agile in dynamics but globally active
  • Decentralized and disconnected to the physical space
  • Horizontal or collaborative hierarchy, without departmental vertical structure
  • More specialized
  • High in freelancers
  • Driven by collaborative teams rather than by departmental expertise
  • Rich in new cross-disciplinary roles and functions
  • Soft skills will gain importance

Need some specific examples of how a model could look? Here you go

If you are still unclear on how to reinvent your organisation to bring it up to date with the current developments in society, The White Paper also features four samples you can borrow from. They have cool names like METAMOTO (Ideas are the currency), HAI (Connecting Intelligence), IDEAS TO GO (Need it. Find it. Take it) and THE PLAN (We have the plan motherf*cker) and each of them explains what they are based on, how they work, their added value, areas of impact and challenges.

Do not hesitate to download the full paper on the link below for more details, practical tips and insights on the opportunities and challenges of re-inventing your organisation, and if you found the Creative Incubator experience interesting, you might want to consider taking part in its second edition, which is now open for submissions and offering 90 scholarships and a 10% discount for ADCE members.