Collaboration is King.
During 2013-16, whilst Creative Director at Hothouse I Want Gets Ltd I introduced a company directive into our day to day practise, to work with a circle of companies we wanted to collaborate with.
These weren't our clients, but our suppliers.
The breadth and scope of the briefs being generated by the industry was beginning to show signs of extraordinary creativity and variety. Agencies, either under immense pressure to retain or win new accounts, or simply doing great work were producing briefs the like of which we hadn't seen with such consistency for 5 years.
For sure there is always one concept each year that stands out like a beacon, but these were coming thick and fast.
It was a new precedent. Witty, inventive and original ideas for Brand Activation, PR and ATL were marrying themselves with technology to entertain ever-savvy consumers.
It remains so today.
As an in-house Production facility, Hothouse IWG was known as the go-to guys for the realisation of the most challenging Production Builds. The business was formed and had grown over 25 years on the single ethic; Produce outstanding and innovative work whenever humanly possible.
But we began to notice that our ethics were being challenged. By us.
Were we set up sufficiently in-house to be able to respond to such a variety of briefs? Could we turn our hand to literally anything thrown at us, (as we pitched to our clients?) In spirit and ethos, yes absolutely. But technically, could we? We couldn't say yes with such resounding conviction any more and it was only going to diminish over time.
Our clients wanted us to handle everything under one roof. Of course, this suited them and made their life as easy as possible, and the trap the Special-Builds industry slips into is to endeavour to handle everything with one's own resources.
For sure you might subcontract the odd part of a build, but that's 5-10% of the project, and the risk is easy to manage. But when a large collaboration is required and often rapidly scrabbled together for the purposes of a project it becomes a high risk strategy, not something the creative idea or client deserves, truth be told.
After much soul searching we came to the conclusion at Hothouse that the days of the under-one-roof production facility were numbered.
The briefs are immensely varied and often growing in digital technicality.
Is it really feasible to invest, manage, maintain and constantly reinvest in all the technologies, specialist crew, software, hardware, and machinery required to truly be able to respond to ANY brief?
Why not? In our game of innovation, by their very nature, original creative ideas will have elements that haven't been done before. It is impossible to second guess what is yet to be conceived by a creative somewhere.
Yes you can play safe and cover the basic facilities that most projects need, but this is the easy option and run of the mill. Run of the mill doesn't breed excellence.
For this very reason we began a journey to transform the business.
If a brief required multiple specialist skills, then we brought a collaborative partner company to the table, to work directly with the client, safe in the conviction that it was the absolute best option for the project. It would mean a smaller project for us, but the project would be as successful as it could be and the return work would far outweigh the financial gain had we taken the whole job on ourselves.
Besides, as production facility you're set up to turn profit on your skill-sets, labour and specialist equipment. You're not set up to make a margin for project managing 2 or 3 other subcontractors. As such when you do find yourself in the position of middle-man managing a digital tech supplier for example, it's an extremely complicated and labour intensive responsibility for very little revenue.
So a double whammy - it's creatively unethical to the brief, and you don't make any money out of it!
We built some incredible relationships through this process, both with those who we partnered with, but I'd like to think with our clients especially who recognised that we were in it for the long haul and wanted to create excellence.
This process proved so successful, in 2016 I decided to open a brand new venture, called Beautiful Wonder, as the next generation of Production Facility. A production facility founded solely on collaboration. No workshops, crew or facilities of it's own, Just a project management hub for the absolute best of the best production facilities.
With a growing network of 30+ industry leading specialists, we can for the first time in 5 years genuinely say we can build anything. There isn't a brief that we can't explore. If it's governed by the laws of the UK and gravity we can build it. You'll need a certain amount of time and money of course but some things never change.
The network critically includes MULTIPLES of the key, common-place disciplines and even some of the very specialist ones. This maximises our chances of finding the right-fit production facility who is available in the given production window for each stage of the production.
We're no longer shoe-horning a brief to suit what we can be done with a limited availability of crew, resources and production space. Instead the brief gets put out to the most experienced and qualified people, and Beautiful Wonder assembles the RIGHT team to do the best possible job.
This level of quality and innovation is unrivalled. Coupled with 25 years project management experience on several award-winning projects at Hothouse we're revolutionising the industry one project at a time.
If you have a beautiful new concept, there's only one home for it.