My Review of Creative Operations 2018

My Review of Creative Operations 2018

Last week I attended the Henry Stewart Creative Operations Conference in London. Henry Stewart is renowned for their DAM conferences, and now they have brought some of their experience to ‘Creative Ops 2018’ which attracted a broader range of delegates and prompted different debates. Henry Stewart does a good job running conferences and the venue, agenda, timings, and the food was all excellent. Which gave us a chance to focus on the interesting debate. Here are my top 5 thoughts (in no particular order):

  • The wide spectrum of views. The crux of the conference was to debate how to blend outstanding creativity with the real world challenges of delivering large volumes of relevant content to the consumer quickly. It was fascinating to listen to the wide range of views in presentations and panel debates. Listening to one panelist talk, any form of processor technology restricts creativity. Whereas a lot of discussions an debate focussed on how technology and process support and enable organizations to be more creative. It was great to listen to such a broad range of perspectives. I guess, wherever you are on the spectrum, that represents some of the challenges that we all face working in the global advertising industry.


  • The Creative Alien. I was midway through the conference when my colleague and I remarked how all the conference delegates talked about ‘Creatives’ as if they were aliens. What I mean is that Creatives seem to be marked out as different, aren’t fully understood and handle with some apprehension. I don’t have the answers to why people talk in this way about creatives, however, the divide cannot help an organization operate efficiently or effectively.


  • The Star of the show. My favourite presentation was from Farfetch. The Farfetch story is a fascinating one. In 10 years, Farfetch has gone from startup to a $1bn company. In the process, it has managed to innovate and ensure the user experience is superb. I particularly liked how their creativity in leveraging technology was helping them improve their customer experience. In this case, the use of AI within their DAM solution to enrich the creative content that they have available for their customers.


  • Most enjoyable talk. Matt Hitchcock of Sky Gaming gave an eloquent and insightful presentation on ‘being a workplace superhero’. Matt's presentation was engaging and funny whilst tackling lots of the challenges of running a creative operation in a large company


  • My final take away. It is not a case of Creative or Operations, they need to coexist. With different emphasis at different points in the content journey. Ideation can, and should, happen free from the restrictions of process and technology, whereas global campaign execution is impossible without the support of established processes and capable technology. As we move downstream in the content journey, the need for technology and process intensifies.