According to my experience, a creative project -be it a campaign, a film, a company or a product- can achieve success, a great success, or have at least a chance of achieving it, when it’s led by a single vision, a single person, or even by a team, but who can think and act as one single person.
A single vision doesn’t mean a shared, consensual vision, but a personal, unjustifiable, highly capricious idea that sounds silly or madness to everyone, except for its promoter who shows an inexplicable conviction. To protect that idea, they must never seek consensus, nor give concessions, but act despotically. Great creative projects are born under totalitarian regimes, led by a… “dictator”.
A creative team aspiring to achieve success, a great success, must abolish democracy. Committees, usually -and explicitly- formed by people with different, plural visions, even when those visions are valuable from their individuality, tend to destroy great projects, stripping them of all their values, one by one, until they are vulgarised, until they become foreseeable. The committees act like chemotherapy, they clean the project from errors but also sterilise it of good ideas. Good ideas often sound crazy when they are heard for the first time, and that it’s the first thing that a committee destroys.
The team involved in a creative project must know how to detect the moment that unique, powerful and controversial vision arises, and add to it, if they believe in it, or move away and let other to get some shit done. There’s definitely no possibility of agreements or pacts. Never try to change an idea if you don’t understand it or don’t share it, and particularly if you don’t like it. Go away please, go and in any case create your own one. If we could join Quentin Tarantino, Lars von Trier, James Cameron and Oliver Stone to direct the same film, we would not get a better movie, but we would strip it of the best of Tarantino, von Trier, Cameron and Stone. In that team, there would be three guys to spare. The important thing is not to know what to say, it’s to know how to keep quiet and, above all, to know when one should open the door and leave.
Companies, if they lack of creativity or innovation, it’s not because they lack of ideas, but because there are too many committees and working groups around. There are many non-creative advisors who talk about creativity, setting up workshops to play “creative”. There are too many people giving opinions, and they don’t realise it, but the more people who think about the project, be it people from the public or highly qualified professionals, the worse the result will be. And today there are no despots, great despots and processes that will clear the way of obstacles so that they can complete their madness without any sort of stumbling. And just only then, maybe, from time to time, the chance of getting something really big will arise.