Paul West - Imagination


Paul WestWhat do you actually do?
Transform business through creativity! I lead teams of talented creatives, developing unexpected ideas and solutions with a wide range of global brands, from digital design to environments, and experiential design to 360 communications.

What would you be doing if you weren't doing that?
I have always been interested in spotting opportunities and solving problems, so I would probably be dreaming up and nurturing novel business concepts, with creativity and innovation at the heart.

How did you get started in the industry?
Whilst at Nottingham Trent, working as an interior design intern at Din Associates. This insightful year covered a range of retail and exhibition projects, and also the winning pitch to design the interior concept and passenger experience for the proposed Heathrow Terminal 5. I returned to this project when I graduated, and subsequently moved to Foster + Partners to work on some really interesting and challenging projects - such as the upper class check in project for Virgin Atlantic through to high-end residential design and urban masterplanning. I later combined my environmental experience with branding and service design, which allowed me to joint the dots between the wide range of creative industries I was interested in, and meant that I could later navigate them under one roof at Imagination.

What's your favourite piece of creative work at the moment?
Outside of the work we do at Imagination, it would have to be witnessing the growth of Apple and their retail experience. From product showcasing to store environment, to service and communications. An obvious one, I know, but I think we take their commitment to innovation for granted now.

What do you love about your job?
I would have to say working with such a diverse range of very talented creative, strategic and business-minded people. Also, it's great to be part of a business that has achieved many amazing things over the last 40 years, notably being responsible for pioneering what we know today as brand experiences, through developing a brave and unique company that housed such a diverse range of talent.

If you could give one piece of advice for someone starting out, what would it be?
Be thoughtful, passionate and confident about your ideas. Make sure you willingly contribute to meetings and brainstorms, and make the most of every brief, not just the ones that immediately excite you.

If you have one Super power what would it be?
Probably a better memory!

What do you want to be when you grow up?
Creative, inspired and enthusiastic. It's a fact of life that some of these qualities can naturally fade away as we grow old. If you get these bits right, then the rest will unfold, and that's the interesting bit. Also, part of this is not to over specialise, but to continue to diversify the sectors you work in, the approaches you take and the clients you get.

What was your worst job and what did you learn from it?
This has to be high on many people's list: The newspaper round. Day to day monotony, chased by dogs, supplements making the bag twice as heavy and earning £1 a day is not ideal, is it!

You have already worked with some amazing brands, who would you like to work with next?
There are so many, the list seems endless! Saying that, I would really like to work with a brand that creates something in outer space – like the first space hotel. Weaned as a child on a steady diet of Moonraker, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Wars, I was hooked from a young age and continue to be fascinated with the future, with space and all things with zero gravity and high technology.

Iphone or Blackberry?
I use both for play and work, respectively.

Your favourite app?
I don't think I could ever narrow it down to one. I would say the one that has changed my life the most has to be Google Maps.

Too Cool for School or too School for Cool?
Too school for cool, for sure!

Facebook or Twitter?
Facebook has probably had the most impact on my daily life, and the way it has evolved has always been a positive experience for me, despite people not wanting to adjust to its constant changes.

Eat In or eat out?
I would probably have to opt for eating out, but I think that's just symptomatic of living in London!

Website: imagination.com

Twitter: @paul_speaking



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