Drew Smith: ethnographer, strategist and host of Rising Minds

CreativeMornings/London Interviews: Tom Foulkes & Michael Johnson

Back in July 2011, when CreativeMornings/London launched, we had the honour of Michael Johnson of Johnson Banks as our first speaker.

September 2012 sees him take the stage again, this time with long-time collaborator and friend Tom Foulkes.

Until recently, Tom was UKMEA Marketing Director at Arup, preceded by senior marketing roles at Buro Happold and Land Securities. He’s also Global Creative Ambassador for the D&AD White Pencil, and the Chair and founding member of the Design Business Association’s Client Membership Panel.

Which makes him ideally placed to talk about his creative partnership with Michael. With a double act looking at who directs the creative process and how they go about it, it will a rollicking exploration of the client/agency relationship, how it can go right and what happens when it goes wrong.

Our usual interview with Tom is below and Michael’s is still available here.

We’re looking forward to welcoming you to the St. Martins Lane hotel on September 28th.

Tom Foulkes & Michael Johnson will be appearing at CreativeMornings/London on Friday September 28th – sponsored by the St. Martins Lane hotel – at 45 Saint Martin’s Lane, London WC2N 4HX. The nearest tube is Leicester Square. For more information and to reserve tickets, please go to the CreativeMornings London Eventbrite page.

Where do you go when you need to concentrate?
Anywhere with my iPod, as long as I can shut out the world with music I can concentrate…

Is it about what you know or who you know?
By nature i’m a trusting, optimistic, idealist so I’ve always believed it’s ‘what you know’…however experience is turning me into a cynical, pessimistic, realist – unfortunately I think that all too often ‘who you know’ gets you, if not in the door, at least to the front of the queue.

What’s been the most pivotal point in your life thus far?
Having my first child 5 years ago really made me think and look at what was important, I’ve changed a lot since Ava was born.

Do you think there’s enough discourse between disciplines?
I’m not sure, there’s probably enough ‘discourse’ at the polar ends of the spectrum – between design under-grads and at senior/trade org level but it’s in between where there seems to be a lack of communication and a seeming lack of appetite to even engage, unfortunately this is the vast majority of the industry and there is no easy solution to encourage more…

Can you teach innovation?
You can certainly teach the various processes and approaches to business that foster a culture that is more likely to identify, nurture, support and develop new ideas and innovations but can you teach someone, an individual, to innovate? No.

Dollar or Yuan?

Do you believe in an afterlife?

Negative or positive freedom?
I’m with Adam Curtis on this one, that neither have proven to result in a particularly happy outcome, however as Isaiah Berlin said ‘positive freedom will always fail, because it is driven by the mistaken belief that there is one true answer to all human ills’ and in the face of that a despotic repression in the name of freedom is inevitable, as Saint Just said ‘we must force the people to be free’.
I’d take CNN, consumerism, bankers bonuses and Dick and Dom over that every time.

Ideal holiday?

Can you draw?
Not by your standards! However I still do – especially when I’m trying to explain something.

Can you draw us a wave?
A sine wave?

Individual or state (or both)?

Favourite LP?
‘Empty Rooms’ by Canyon or ‘Come on Feel the Illinoise’ by Sufjan Stevens or ‘Mecca and the Soul Brother’ by Pete Rock and CL Smooth or ‘Sky Blue Sky’ by Wilco or ‘Logical Progression’ by LTJ Bukem…how many do you want again?

Last book read?
Homicide: Life on the Killing Streets by David Simon

The best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
‘it’s not enough to be right’

What advice would you give to someone who wants to be where you are?
aim higher!

Category: CreativeMornings/London

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© Andrew Philip Artois Smith and DownsideUpDesign, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Andrew/Drew Smith and DownsideUpDesign with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.