The Forgotten Creatives

I stood watching two white-coated R & D types at an exhibition in Cologne the other day. They caught my attention because of the large crowd that had gathered around their bit of a big confectioners stand.

They were making sugar coated sweets using a little lab size dragee machine and were mesmerizing the onlookers. You could almost hear the crowd thinking, ‘ah so that’s how it’s done’.

As we all warmed to their art, questions started being shouted at the two guys from the spectators. They were both a bit uncomfortable with all the attention but gradually defrosted and became more and more animated, as they explained how sweets were created.

It made me realise just how undervalued R & D is as a profession within marketing dominated companies. They are the creative team that everyone forgets. The artists who turn pipe dreams into reality; the engineers who find the practical solutions to thorny product problems; and above all, the thinkers who live and breathe their product categories 24/7.

I just wish they were more assertive. Why don’t they make their creative passion more apparent? Why do they allow marketers to bring in outside Creatives? Is it perhaps that they have been made to focus only on cost saving projects? Have they just become Production’s bitches?

R&D should be the creative department in every Manufacturing organisation – dreaming up new ideas not just spending their time reducing costs, shaving seconds off production runs and finding ways to reuse scrap.