Dubai Lynx: Do We Really Need Creative Directors?

Andrew Davies

Bhoomika Ghaghada CareerME Art Community ,,,,,
We love bold ideas that question convention. This one jumped out at us from Dubai Lynx’ 2017 Festival Program.
Samuel Akesson from Forsman & Bodenfors is here to challenge convention with a strong argument for change. Presenting success amassed at a uniquely structured agency, his talk is one to mark on your calendar: March 5, titled ‘Creative Directors. Who needs them?’
Why does he think Creative Directors aren’t quite as effective as a creative in a team? He lays it out simply:
“Well, the thing that most CDs have in common is that they are – or have been – very good creatives. And this right here is part of the problem with a hierarchical structure, when you become very good at something, you are promoted in to doing something else. Wouldn’t it be better if people did what they do best?”
An interesting proposition.
While the agency atmosphere in Dubai is one where competition is ripe, the new agency that Samuel proposes thrives on the incentive of doing great work and eliminates the space reserved for the egoistic creative.
What about titles, promotions and credit? They’ll be gone too. Collaboration will be given precedence at every turn.
The question remains: Can we transition to a horizontal, collaborative structure in an environment like UAE, where teams are made to pitch different ideas and the best man wins? Samuel thinks it’s possible. Here’s what some other ad folk in Dubai said:
“It is more important to be effectively creative now. The hierarchical structure helps establish feasibility check points. This inspires and pushes creative to think resourcefully. Also, directors are now more of brand guardians. Sometimes a creative team can easily be swayed to think that their ideas work across brands, but needs the skillful eye of an ECD to have it suit just one brand and make it ownable. So, I think the hierarchical structure is more beneficial in the long run, and in the final execution of ideas,” says Hemal Vaya, Senior Account Manager at Geometry Global.
Majd Abiali, Head of Social at OSN, disagrees saying:
“A flat structure in an ad agency is a great idea. It filters out the people who are just doing it for the cheque or the glory, leaving those whoa re doing it for the work. The role of the director then changes to inspiring the team rather than getting on stage on behalf of the team [which is the case in most agencies].”

We asked Samuel to, in 40 words or less, tell us why his talk is un-miss-able at Lynx this year. 

“An industry that is all about change has hardly changed for seventy years. Weird. We’ve found a different way of working. It has made us one of the best in the world. I’ll tell you how.”
Not convinced? We’ll leave it to Samuel.
Discussions that turn over assumptions are the norm for Dubai Lynx every year. Join the conversation with creatives, strategists and experts from advertising, branding and marketing, film-makers and entertainers. 
Dubai Lynx 2017 runs from March 5 to 8.