The Age of The Creative


Merriam Webster defines creativity as: the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.; originality, progressiveness, or imagination

Courtesy of Merriam Webster

I like to think of creativity as: Alternative thinking, approaches, and solutions that challenge normalcy and spark change.

From professional creative roles ranging from work in the advertising industry as a producer, to independently contracting with various creators and agencies on projects and serving as a manager for creative talent; these collective experiences have spotlighted the immense value that the creative community adds to society.

Photo Credit:

Over the last 30 years there’s been an increase of creative Dominance in society, in almost every thing. The accessibility of information, resources and the Internet has offered a simplified approach to creating for those willing to put the work in.

In the last 10–12 years we’ve seen the proof of this — the birth of the blogger, rise of the

DIY-er, the emergence of self or technology-learned

Photographers, content creators and artists. The list goes on and on. With these resources and access, creativity will only continue to rise; traditional approaches and methodologies will be challenged to remain relevant or diminish all together.

For a long time, the creative innovators of the world have been disguised or unfairly placed in a box that doesn’t compliment what their creative capabilities are — “entrepreneur”.

Yes, Entrepreneurship is a form of creativity. However, that box, label or nomenclature often takes the Steve Jobs, Walt Disney’s, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerburg’s, Kanye West’s, Charles and Ray Eames’ of the world out of being the “creative” and into the world of “businessman or businesswoman” because of the profit were able to turn off the things they’ve created.

That label creates an unfair sense of pressure to live up to and a new road to travel.

Photo: Charles and Ray Eames, Pinterest

This creative way of thinking and vision to create has proven to be a valuable asset to society and culture as a whole. We see it, consume it, feel it, read it and hear it every day. It’s something that the world actually needs. But the vision, skills, capabilities and execution of creating, continues to lie in a perpetual cycle of being undervalued and disproportionately commoditized.

Marketers, brands, big corporations and agencies, in a way have “caught on” to understanding the value that creatives have and add to our society. But often times they exploit or abuse that for their own benefit through one-sided deals and interactions with creatives that are transactional instead of engaging and empowering.

Within the products, mediums of information and entertainment that have been created in which our society consumes on a daily basis, we see endorsements and endorsement deals that no longer tap athletes or celebrities, but now tap creatives for marketing. In the first decade of the 2000’s, the Internet, digital media platforms and apps took center stage in society. This created a challenge for advertisers in how to not only understand and use these platforms, but how to leverage them in the best way to fulfill brand-marketing objectives and ultimately increase revenue.

Photo: Issa Rae, courtesy of NYFA

As digital usage and consumption started to grow, adaptation had to occur and adjustments had to be made. Schematic seeding of products, invitations to exclusive events or gatherings and all expense paid trips started to be the new form of currency in an effort of making the adjustments. These adjustments in the some of the endorsement deals more times than not, have been one-sided.

The brands and big corporations win because the endorsement campaigns often drives sales or clicks, ultimately fulfilling their goals and objectives.

But when I sat in the seat of managing creative talent, I’d find myself disappointed because the offers for them to execute creative work that shared their perspective or intellectually property was under-compensated with what I saw as unfair terms. For the creatives, it’s not always a win — the brand interaction is generally transactional, their endeavors aren’t often accurately supported, their creativity and skill-set aren’t appropriately integrated (to actually make sense) and their compensation isn’t fair for the usage of their name, image, products, likeness or creative skills.

While exposure is great in helping with awareness or promotion that can lead to other opportunities and new platforms, exposure doesn’t pay the bills, put food on your table or support a family.I also noticed within the creative community there’s generally a lack of support and knowledge in how to handle negotiations, contracts and steering business affairs in a direction to actually grow creative businesses.

Photo: Blue the Great, Instagram

Creative services currently account for 20% of US workforce and are growing faster than any major sector. The days of brands and corporations tapping Ad Agencies to service and help reach marketing goals and objectives are soon to fade away.

The number of outsourced contributions from creative talent will soon dominate more than ever — It’s already started. The value of the creative community will grow where artisans and creatives will become the new agencies.

Age of the Creative is knowing how brands and marketers, artists and creatives think and communicate.

Age of the Creative is Identifying and creating opportunities that build and strengthen the relationship between brands and the creative community to connect, engage, cultivate and exchange.

Age of the Creative is creating a platform that highlights the creative work and talent providing support through resources and exposure and puts money in pockets.

Age of the Creative is a way of thinking; understanding the value that the creative community adds to culture and society as a whole and elevating that creative value.

Creativity is all around us. We see it, feel it, consume it and are inspired by it every day. Creativity lies in each and every one of us — Sometimes in ways that we wouldn’t even think of whether trained to write, sing, play an instrument, dance, act, shoot, draw, design, build, etc. we’re all creative. The past, present and future is creative. This is, the Age Of The Creative.

Ian Davis is a results oriented, creative problem solver. He combined his passions for helping others, creativity and culture, with his Ad Agency experiences at Wieden + Kennedy, Mccann Erickson and HUGE to start Age of The Creative: a consultancy and network that serves creatives with opportunities and provides creative solutions for Brands, agencies and start-ups.