Introducing AKQA’s family album
The calm before the calm
If longevity is the central pursuit for an organisation, then it’s an increasingly tough accolade to achieve. In 1958, the average lifespan of a company in the S&P 500 was just over six decades. In 2010, it was 18 years. Today, it’s an average of ten years and shrinking. Failing to reinvent, not adapting to more efficient methods, mergers and acquisitions are the primary causes of disappearance.
While artificial intelligence and automation can override many systems, at least for now, they have not displaced the human imagination and power of invention. Rather than pursue permanence, perhaps it would be wiser for a company to focus on its immediate contribution to the society and stakeholders it serves.
A new project from AKQA reveals the agency’s thoughts and achievements through pioneering ideas across multiple spheres. It captures a moment in time, sharing AKQA’s recent work, initiatives and the abiding beliefs that have endured the test of time. Books occupy space that is physically quantifiable but figuratively endless. The more relevant and accessible a book’s narratives, the greater space it occupies in our collective thoughts and feelings. This book is an exploration. It celebrates how creative energy can shape tomorrow’s conversation, and with it a more collaborative, hopeful future.
Space for the Mind
Be it personally or in business, at the core of every success lies a single commonality; the power to understand one’s subject. Everyone exists in their own echo chamber so identifying with human emotions, empathising with your neighbours and breaking down preconceived boundaries born from outdated stereotypes are all qualities not regularly practiced. But when they are, universal rewards are reaped. Indeed, only by thriving off feedback and criticism can you truly connect, learn and grow. This innate ability to challenge both yourself and the social constructs around you activates a shift in mindset. Nurturing such an ethos is a surefire way for an organisation to achieve notable work and continued positive influence.
The Pursuit of Simplicity
Similarly, engaging fully in the idea that ‘the simple will always displace the complex’ has the ability to open your eyes to the principles with which humans can actually make sense of the world. Combine the apprehension of human traits with a learned understanding of people’s behaviours and the outcome is a powerful tool. It ensures you have the ability to not only create something meaningful, but also to place it into the best context to garner the most widespread use, safe in the knowledge that you are not adding unnecessary noise to an already cluttered world. This ability to look through the eyes of your audience, to really take time to understand their outlook and create what didn’t exist before, is a skill in itself. So too is taking the time to study, test and learn. Perhaps the greatest skill of all in this respect is to not stop being surprised. It ensures you experience a different perspective, it questions the way you think, and it opens your eyes to new worlds, broadening your horizons.
Purpose at the Heart
The perpetual expedition for experimentation, curiosity and trying new things for the purpose of enhancing lives is a trait that cannot be faked. It comes inherently from within, and at its core is born out of prioritising human values not monetary value. The concept of appreciating humanity over financial gain is a relatively new approach in business but it’s a favourable way forward because the lexicon was changing and the pandemic has sped up the transition. Where fiscal gain and ego once prevailed, now service, kindness, consideration, compassion and looking after one another are beginning to become the preferred currencies to trade in, prioritised by forward-thinking businesses and thought leaders.
With this shift comes hope for the future, harboured by a newfound sentiment of togetherness. Togetherness breeds chemistry, energy and collaboration – collaboration between people, between sectors, between your own commitment and effort. It also demonstrates how art and science are inherently linked, not just via association. Art and science have previously been deemed abstract and not related to one another, but an unprecedented year like 2020 has also been the glue that’s brought them together, and this is evident in new creative ways of collaborative working that companies are establishing and embracing.
The Laboratory of Life
New dawns bring hope to the world – be it in art or science form – so in times of change, it’s paramount to take particular care of the design and the details, while never deviating from reputable core values. Crucially, what really differentiates star potential from the norm, is the overriding intuition to always attempt to deconstruct who you are; to always push for what’s next – beyond what you already know. Because everyone has a past, a present and a future, but ultimately we are all a work in progress, not a finished article. Grasping that concept and striving for it matters more than any arbitrary quest for success, because there is more to creativity than winning.
As a multi-disciplinary firm, AKQA has always viewed design as all encompassing. Positive client and audience response to the richness and diversity of its work is reward in itself but to consistently win significant national and international recognition – a quarter of a century since its founding – demonstrates continual reinvention, aspirations and remarkable commitment. Every chapter and every page turned is a testament to such.