NEW YORK: Agencies seeking to foster greater creativity could benefit from focusing on team dynamics rather than looking to compelling individuals, a paper in the Journal of Advertising Research (JAR) has argued.

The article, entitled Agency Creativity: Teams and Performance – A Conceptual Model Links Agency Teams' Knowledge Utilization, Agency Creativity, and Performance, maintained that how teams function is vital to agencies.

"Agency creativity is a product of team efforts whereby members interact to share knowledge, skills, and expertise to produce creative campaigns," wrote Jacqueline Lynch (University of Westminster) and Douglas C. West (King's College London and a visiting professor of Kellogg College, University of Oxford).

Despite the value of the team effort – an "invaluable resource" for advertising agencies, said Lynch and West – research in the field of advertising creativity has largely focused on the perspective of the individual.

Team creativity "is not merely the aggregation of individual creativity", the authors asserted. And they proposed a conceptual model linking teams' knowledge utilization, agency creativity, and performance – a paradigm that could be a catalyst "on which to build future empirical research on the nature of team creativity in advertising agencies".

Managing diverse teams, Lynch and West explained, will be a challenge, but is the best option when radical creativity is on the agenda. When incremental creativity is the order of the day, the best option – from the point of view of "ease" of management – is to establish a team that is known to be harmonious and homogeneous.

"Positive management fosters team creativity, and it is only agency managers who can select and organize the needed diverse teams in tried and trusted ways to minimize potential (and actual) conflict," the academics stated.

Dr. West previously served with great distinction as Executive Editor of JAR. "Agency Creativity: Teams and Performance" is the first in what will in a series of "Douglas C. West Advertising Creative Articles" – annual contributions that will salute his quest for greater empirical evidence of how the process of advertising creativity works.

Data sourced from Journal of Advertising Research; additional content by WARC staff