As a creative branding agency we’re approached by all sorts of students. Some seeking internships, some seeking that illusive first job. Of these most come brandishing a portfolio of work that is slickly polished, industry ready and available online. Their proof that they can do what we do, that they have the skills we WANT. All great, and duly required, but there’s one question we can’t help pondering — is WANT what we NEED?

Our dilemma.

In an industry driven by results, the value of skills are often placed above explorative process and playful thinking. Yet playful exploration is exactly where the genuinely new, interesting and exciting lurk — a notion that strikes a sharp paradox in an industry that freely throws around words like edgy, revolutionary and cutting-edge.

With this in mind it appears a little more clear. Embrace fear, dare to fail and you might just create a surprise. And, yes, this could easily be discarded as gung-ho spirit or wistful ideology. But, perhaps we should think on. Perhaps there’s more value, to us as an industry, in encouraging students to think-free, to explore, to court external factors, to unearth unforeseen and unpredictable outcomes. We could even suggest, probably argue, that the student that has danced a light fandango with explorative thinking and navigated the perils of potential failure, before the real world, is better prepared to evolve, to raise creative heights, to lead an industry headlong towards the future.

So, maybe we should all be seeking gloriously silly, wondrously explorative, unforeseen, unpredicted outcomes. Ones that actively nurture a next generation that’s less preoccupied with industry ready skills and more willing to think, look beyond, surprise and raise creative debate. Or put simply, less of what we think we WANT and more of what we really NEED. And perhaps we, the industry, should continuously remind ourselves of this.

Note to self: Where failure lurks, success thrives.

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