'The real currency will always be ideas': Stack's Iain Hunter on what it takes to be a great creative

Iain Hunter, executive creative director at Stack

The Drum sits down with Iain Hunter, executive creative director at Stack, to find out what he thinks makes a great creative. For him, great creatives never run dry of ideas and are the least resistant to change.

What does it take to be a great creative? Tough one.

Is it attrition? Sounds a little dull. Fear? Bit obvious. Rule-breaker? They’re actually the creatives I hate – well, the self-titled ones, anyway.

My mind spins back through the people I’ve worked with, learnt from, competed against – looking for a common thread. Got it.

I think what makes most of the great creatives great is the inherent belief that whatever the problem, the pressure, or the timing, there is always another great idea just waiting to be hatched – the well never runs dry.

When you work for people who have it, it can be a nightmare – they’re hard to please because they know there is always more, and if you can’t find it, they will. When you’re up against someone with it, you can’t rest because they’re never done and it’s not over until your work’s running and theirs isn’t. And when you work with someone who has it, and you get to the office with a proper hangover and an approaching deadline, you thank whatever’s holy to you.

I’ve also found that the people who never run dry are the least resistant to change. They know that the real currency will always be ideas, and the latest channels and tech are simply conduits to new and better ones.

Which doesn’t mean complacency or laziness. Most of the great creatives I’ve met are well aware they have a talent/knack/ability and respect it. One really talented guy I know says he has no idea where the next idea is going to come from, and is slightly terrified that one day it might just stop.

So what if that happens? One morning you stash your fixie, take your beanie off, sip your flat white, open your pad and oh shit – the ideas factory is no longer open for business.

Well, there’s nothing else for it – you’ll have to move into planning.

This article was originally published in the 26 October edition of The Drum.

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