Saturday Morning leaders on being a great creative

It’s not difficult to be inspired by Saturday Morning, the movement for peace founded after a spate of police shootings against African-Americans including Philando Castile, Alton Sterling and others.

Four leading, highly-respected African-American creative leaders — Geoff Edwards, co-head of creative at Creative Artists Agency (CAA), Keith Cartwright, executive creative director at Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners, Jayanta Jenkins, global group creative director at Twitter and Jimmy Smith, chairman and chief executive of Amusement Park Entertainment — met one Saturday morning in July 2016 as the original co-founders and have continually called for the creative industry to come together and act.

The Peace Brief, started by the group, serves as a place of optimism in spite of the challenges around diversity — and has galvanized the greater creative community. It allows anyone to submit ideas and hundreds of creatives, from legends to legends-in-the-making, have committed their support so far. The first brief: “The police and the community they serve — how do we reduce the violence?” is an invitation to gather ideas, solutions and creative ways to make positive impact on society.

Last week at Cannes Lions, Edwards, Cartwright and Jenkins took to the stage in a powerful presentation that shed light on their own stories — and how advertising and media relegated African-Americans into the “other” category.

It was also another opportunity to talk about the Peace Brief, encourage the audience to take their own talents and gifts to contribute to the movement and share new commitments from brands such as P&G and Twitter. The latter brand launched a dedicated hashtag, #MakeDifferenceHappen, as a place to gather ideas.

After the presentation, The Drum asked each what they felt it takes to be a great creative.

For his part, Edwards believes that discomfort is a great enabler of creativity. In fact, he notes that the most important times of his career were the moments when he was least comfortable.

Cartwright further noted that one should never think of themselves as great in the first place — and that curiosity is a key attribute in being a strong creative. Asking questions of ones self — and stretching are crucial in staying fresh and relevant.

Curiosity is also a big one for Jenkins. Being empathetic and vulnerable also holds a great deal of weight as well — as does being timeless, having the ability to stand the test of time in an industry that is constantly changing.

See what other creative pros think it takes to be a great creative in our continuing series.