Matt Walker is a creative director at Forever Beta, an integrated creative and innovation company that creates ideas that make a constant difference. At the same time he is creative lead of Beta Alliance, an audience-first creative content and performance agency.
If I was to describe myself, I'd probably say I'm noisy and fun. From playing COD, to cooking, to working I’m a constant optimist. I should point out I’m shit at COD and cooking. But I enjoy every second. I bring this optimism to my creative thinking. If something doesn't work out you can still enjoy the process and learn from it.
I think creativity can be innate and learnt. There are creative geniuses whose brains are wired differently. But there are also practical deep thinkers. There is a place for both.
I project myself as an extrovert. And I am one. I think it is really helpful when it comes to creativity because it invites interaction, conversation and brings energy. Creativity is a team sport and these are things you need to come up with ideas.
On the subject of routine, too much of it makes life boring. Not enough and the chaos takes over. I like to jolt myself out of routine to keep things fresh.
I have a deep love for creative stuff that I would have never dreamt up. Thinks that surprise me. Things that make me laugh. Things that make me want to interrupt people's day with to talk about.
When it comes to creative, the work that I like best is work that doesn’t treat people like idiots but challenges and rewards us. I like to think, "if it was food, would I eat it?" The world is constantly changing and so the way we judge creativity needs to constantly change. But the ‘eat it’ test still remains.
After I’ve finished on a project I only see the lost battles. But it’s still nice to revisit work when the dust has settled. I’m proud of my work on The Year of Eating Together for The Co-op, a documentary I made about the future of sex and robots for Kaspersky, breaking a speedrunning world record live on Twitch, also for Kaspersky, and bringing dinosaurs back to life for Gett.
There is always great creative happening somewhere and I love that there is more of a shift towards creativity for good. Over the past years due to multiple factors there has been a dramatic shift in the type of work being made as consumer needs have changed.
I don’t get frustrated by existing work. There are so many factors behind creative that I don’t like to judge without knowing the full story.
I don’t really have a set process for how I make creative work. I guess because every brief is different and every opportunity is different. All I do is make sure I’m constantly consuming all the culture I can. Living and experiencing things is where sparks of ideas come from. I also get some of my brightest creative sparks while having a shower.
I really enjoy sharing the creative process with others. I still get a buzz when people like the seed of an idea and run with it. Everyone can see different routes through problems and the process is more fun when it’s shared. It also makes better work. I should point out it’s hard to do this from the shower.
When I’m struggling and getting frustrated I become easily distracted. So, I take a shower. I find the environment let’s my mind drift around a problem easier. It really works. And I smell nicer for it.
My art teacher growing up was a real inspiration for me creatively. He created a department that didn’t feel like you were at school. It felt like a colourful world of mess and chaos where anything goes. I would lose hours playing with paints and listening to The Red Hot Chilli Peppers. It was awesome.
I’ve been fortunate enough to work in every type of agency, running around London as one half of the creative team Creative Madam. Over 12 years together we battled over who was the writer and art director, pushing each other's skill sets. And while I'm very competitive in every aspect of my life, that goes out the window when it comes to creativity. If you have the right people with the right mindset when you rid competition everyone pulling together. I also like to remind myself to have fun. I’ve met too many unhappy people in this job and I think that is weird.
Finally, when it comes to clients, here's some advice on how to make the most out of your agency teams: Trust has to be earned. But when it is, let us spend it.
And for agencies: Lose the ego. Have fun. Take more showers.