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Why creative-based socials are invaluable to agency culture

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Following an influx of newbies to the creative and design teams we wanted to start a ritual for our people to come together socially. This would be a regular calendar event they would look forward to, input into and that would add an insight into the ways others approach creativity.

We called it ‘Wayzgoose’ – a loose appropriation of a historic word used in the print industry to announce its major socials.

Wayzgoose brings inspiration into Proximity several times a year on a Wednesday evening. In the sessions, different types of characters offer a range of expertise in either unexpected or niche creative professions. Anyone at Proximity can find or recommend the talent – which keeps it broad as we are canvasing from a wide pool of backgrounds.

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More important than the skills learnt during these unusual experiences are the connections created by our people sharing them. They encourage new collaborations and not stereotyping people by the role they were employed to do.

The more creativity flowing through every individual in the agency, the more successful our work output becomes. This has forced us to rethink who we open Wayzgoose to. Rather than just the creative and design departments we extended the invite to all at the agency.

At Proximity London we believe in Connected Creativity, the synchronisation of strategic positioning, standout creative and engagement planning to ensure ideas cut through to deliver the strongest commercial performances. In encouraging all departments to come together in these sessions, we are strengthening our agency approach in a fun and collaborative way.

The types of activities?

Just to name a few; giving realistic human traits to a coat with Puppeteer Oliver Smart, deciphering the taste of different typefaces with Sarah Hyndman, zen like origami sessions with Sam Tsang, performing stand-up comedy to a hostile audience with Logan Murray, moulding plasticine self-portraits with Wilfred Wood, creative persuasion with magician Lee Smith.

If the activity seems a little niche, the lure of semi-fine wine, snacks and mostly warm pizza opens up a wide and eclectic audience.

How it adds value

- A chance to learn something new, introducing fresh ways to apply creativity

- A break from the routine, offering a glimpse into a creative field one might not usually be exposed to

- The activities remove hierarchy and change the dynamics within the group

- Helps to further invigorate the space we work in

- Broadens our definition of creativity, demonstrating that it’s less restricted to what we do day-to-day

- It breaks down the fear of trying new things, fostering the courage to be more expressive

Going forward

Wayzgoose Wednesdays is now in its fifth year. The more popular events like male nude life drawing get a repeat showing, and thankfully it’s just the numbers that rise. No event has been unsuccessful – mainly due to the openness and enthusiasm of those attending.

It’s a key pillar in our workplace culture and a big contribution to our recognition as Campaign’s ‘Best Place to Work’, in the large agencies category for the last two consecutive years.

There is now an expectation to deliver on the side of unusual. With everyone in the agency behind it we foresee this initiative continuing to grow and dive even deeper into bringing unique talent into Proximity to share, demonstrate and involve us in their experience and creative process.

I believe it’s a great initiative for any agency to embrace. Since Wayzgoose began, we have noticed an increase in inter-departmental collaborations, wider sharing of creative briefs and a passion to embrace the less travelled path. We’d invite you to follow in our footsteps.

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Brian Eagle is head of design at Proximity London.

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