Creativity in the pandemic: restructuring to celebrate our diverse talent across the globe

Natasha Cowan | 07 July 2021

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How we reshaped our creative team to drive global collaboration, innovation, and entrepreneurial spirit.

While COVID-19 has presented both business and personal challenges, it has also been an opportunity to reshape business practices and accelerate cultural change. The creative team at Fishawack Health has seized this moment to elevate its collective expertise, expanding client support and enhancing career and development opportunities for staff.

Head of Creative US at Fishawack Health, Lacey Jae Christman, says: “The pandemic has catapulted people being able to live the life they want to live while having a career they love.”

Lacey heads up creative across the US working with life science, healthcare, and wellness clients on the commercialization of products and services throughout the product lifecycle. Her global counterpart, Damien Parsonage, based in the UK agrees: “Our vision is to practically bring people together to work on their passions and empower people to build the company together.”

“When we first started integrating, I had a lofty goal that I wanted to make Fishawack Health the agency where everyone wants to work. In some ways, the pandemic has made that ambition more tenable.”

Lacey and Damien have developed a unique creative approach at Fishawack Health—Affective Creativity: creative designed to make deep, motivating connections with each brand’s target audience by tapping into psychology and combining that with creative craft and expertise to deliver powerful work that engages on a conscious as well as subconscious level.

Lacey joined Fishawack Health following the acquisition of the Carling Group in 2017. Since then, Fishawack Health has acquired a number of companies including Blue Latitude Health where Damien worked, Dudnyk, 2e Creative, and StoneArch in January 2021 and most recently, in June 2021, closerlook. “When we first started integrating, I had a lofty goal that I wanted to make Fishawack Health the agency where everyone wants to work. In some ways, the pandemic has made that ambition more tenable,” says Lacey.

Group Creative Director Michael Piasecki, formerly of 2e Creative, describes how Fishawack Health’s integrated approach not only benefits clients, but it also provides new opportunities for team members: “We continue to grow and to welcome people into the Fishawack family, and. as we broaden our capabilities, we’re also building our collective skills and experience into this think tank that spans coast to coast. What is cool is that there is so much available to us as creatives—so much we can learn from one another, and there is a genuine interest in fostering relationships while developing our individual skills.”

While working remotely has obvious challenges such as missing out on those hallway chats and spontaneously bouncing around ideas; it has also been a catalyst for bringing teams together across the US and working with colleagues overseas to operate in a more flexible way. Creative Director Jon Yuill from the UK comments: “I feel I have friends and colleagues across the Fishawack pack. I haven’t met them personally, but I work with them closely. This is particularly true on new business pitches.” A comment echoed by UK-based Creative Director Jamie Thompson: “COVID-19 has accelerated what was already happening and has forced us to adopt systems so we can work remotely together.”

You can adapt your skill to your passion. There is so much diversity in the work so people can flex according to the subject or their capabilities.

“We are offering people opportunities to get exposure to a lot more people that normally you may never come in contact with. So, you have the opportunity to work on an array of therapy areas and creative processes—that was never been there before the pandemic. And you are actively encouraged to build those relationships to improve your own skillset and that of the company,” says Lacey.

She continues: “People can also specialize more easily—they can be great at what they’re great at, and other people can augment the team’s work with their talents rather than trying to be good at everything.”

The leadership team looks more broadly at business needs and resources campaigns with the best people for that job which in turn champions fresh ideas, inspires creativity and pushes the work to another level. “It is refreshing to see it happen,” says Michael. “You can adapt your skill to your passion. There is so much diversity in the work so people can flex according to the subject or their capabilities.”

There is a sincere interest in providing opportunities for newcomers to make a difference. Lacey comments: “It’s not having us as leaders just say ‘here are the tools you have’. We ask ‘what are the tools you need? And how can you develop those?’ We give people opportunities to build the company they work for, and that is important.” Michael says: “Our changing ways of working have had a big impact. By fostering our team’s energy and diversity, we can focus on elevating the creative craft and developing future leaders.”

That’s not to say that the effects of the pandemic have all been positive, and Lacey notes that there are certainly challenges to overcome. “People are emotional creatures. A lot of people stay and thrive in companies because of the environment and culture. People are grieving the loss of culture that has stemmed from remote working during the pandemic. We have figured out how to do amazing work, it’s the human connection that’s the challenge—it’s the catalyst for our creative work.”

Lacey believes Fishawack is barely scratching the surface of what the organization is capable of—as lockdowns begin to ease and face-to-face meetings are possible, even stronger connections amongst colleagues and an increased willingness to go even further in developing standout creative that delivers for clients will be possible. “This year has been about coming together, and next year will be about thriving.”

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