Sir John Hegarty: Creatives have 10-year shelf life
Creative professionals have a limited amount of time to do "great work", before they risk becoming repetitive, Sir John Hegarty has warned.
Speaking as a guest at Posterscope's inaugural Pioneers event at the Soho Hotel on Tuesday, the advertising icon said that most creative professions have a 10-year period that will "create the work that's going to define them."
"We live in a world where you have to come in every day and have a new idea," said Hegarty, "and that idea can't be yesterday's idea."
However, Hegarty, whose career spans over six decades, said that there are things a creative professional can do to "expand" their shelf life.
"Cynicism is the death of creativity," said Hegarty. "Creativity is about optimism; it's when you're prepared to accept there is a problem and that you can change it.
"Change comes from optimists, it doesn't come from cynicists. A cynic will destroy an idea and it will destroy organisations."
Hegarty added that ego is also a "crucial" part of the creative process.
"Ego is 'I' - 'I believe in this' - and I want passionate people and people that have a point of view. What you don't want is hubris - hubris is what I see killing careers all the time. In business you need to understand the value of ego but beware of hubris."
Hegarty, famed for his work at Saatch & Saatchi and BBH, said that being "daring" and "fearless" is also vital to making progress - and warned creatives not to dwell on mistakes, or they risk hindering the ability to adopt new and daring ideas.
"The way we move forward is by challenging what's going on out there. A sense of fearlessness in establishing new things is absolutely crucial and without that you won't make any progress.
"I never think about my mistakes. If I were to obsess over them, I would begin to impinge on my daring nature and begin to worry, and if I did, I would no longer adopt and embrace new ideas."