If a door doesn’t exist, build one. Then knock. It’ll open.
Part of being lucky is putting yourself in the right place to be.
We were in the process of planning Edition 2 of the World’s Greatest Internship when we took a field trip to the annual C2 Montreal event. There, our CEO, Trevor Hubbard, was on a ‘brain date’ with Marie Amiot, former Account Director at Sid Lee and now Co-Founder at Montreal’s school of creativity, Factry. Unbeknownst to Trevor and Marie, our Global Brand Director, Ian Ernzer, had met with legendary Sid Lee Chief Creative Officer and Co-Founder, Phillippe Meunier. Phillippe happens to be a Co-Founder of Factry as well. The four eventually met up to talk.
What began as a casual conversation around a few glasses of rosé between the Factry and Butchershop crew ended with a potent and beautiful reminder of what makes collaboration actually happen. Unique opportunities are everywhere, but if a collaborative vision isn’t anchored in shared values the likelihood of ideas leaving the napkin they’re written on is murky at best.
If you’re a company with a purpose, the best way to live it is to make things others can participate in. Sid Lee’s motto is a call to “Create what matters;” Butchershop’s ethos is “Help people” through creativity; Factry’s credo is that “Creativity can be learned.” The values of our organizations align, and reveal uncommon opportunities for collaboration.
Phillippe, Marie, along with Co-Founders Ugo Cavenaghi and Hélène Godin, started Factry with a goal to provide tools that unlock an individual’s creativity and prepare them for navigating the unknowns of the world. Creativity can be learned by anyone, and they teach it well. Similarly, we created the World’s Greatest Internship (WGI) to help emerging creatives plant their feet in the creative industry by exposing them to levels of thinking, talent, and culture that traditional internships simply can’t. The outputs of Butchershop and Factry are both using creativity to help people. It’s not just a recognition of shared values, but it’s also a recognition of what’s possible because of those shared values. We had separately achieved our own interpretations of helping others, but together we could reimagine what that meant.
So we agreed to try something new with each other. An experiment to put into practice our values, to see what would come of it and what could possibly await us in the future. We returned to Montreal with 6 eager WGI interns, and a new partnership. The hypothesis testing began.
The Factry team developed a custom curriculum for the Edition 2 WGI Interns. For one week, interns experienced workshops and guest speakers to help them build a repertoire of creative tools. It was a crash course in big idea thinking—unraveling, reconstructing, and narrowing in on a target—moving quickly from concept to creative. They were to fully understand that creativity is a complex game that can be played effectively simply. If a door doesn’t exist to knock on, build one. Then knock. It’ll open.
The first foray of the WGI x Factry partnership worked to address two problems: the need for a new type of internship and the misconception that creativity is innate. Take our collaboration to the macro level, buttressed by our common values of helping others, and maybe we could solve larger, more complex issues. We don’t have all the answers yet, but we’re ready to see where our collaboration takes us. Because partnerships like this have the ability to demystify complexities of any size. This is, perhaps, the role creativity and agencies play in shaping the future.
Any organization that holds their values near and dear to their work knows that you have to put shit out into the world to get people to respond to it. We built WGI in the name of helping people, and others responded. It’s not a new concept, but it’s a healthy reminder that what needs being done must be met at the same velocity by like-minded people. It’s not so much “if you build it, they will come,” but rather “if you share it, you can build.”
As we engage in more partnerships that focus on helping people and building a global community, we’re learning and evolving alongside it. We’ve got plans. Big ones. From mentorships that connect emerging creatives to industry leaders to internships that help people learn the importance of culture, self-worth, and the business of creativity, we’re exploring ways to make these experiences available to more people all over the world. We’ll see you out there.