“How do you unlimit your thinking?” Jon Cook, the the Global CEO of VMLY&R (VML Earned the Top 3 Spot on 2018 Ad Age A-List), and presenter at CBIZ, challenged us. For example, Ford Motor company’s seeing themselves in the mobility rather than automotive industry has opened them to creating a personalized consumer experience through an app that includes car sharing where instead of paying for parking while your car is at the airport someone pays you for using it while you travel.

This future proofing shift in perspective through creative design thinking not only ensures that Ford “stays in the game” in our constantly changing VUCA world we live in, but also is a win for the environment. People, Planet, Profit, Purpose: the Quadruple Bottom Line.

How are you unlimiting your thinking, perspective, looking outside categories? How are you living up to the high expectations of consumer experience in order to future proof? Besides working with a successful ad agency, you can hire a coach to help you see the big picture, look outside categories and shift perspectives.

Want an external thought partner with fresh perspective to help you unlimit your thinking and open to creative new possibilities? I invite you to apply for an Unlock Potential strategy session with me through my website

Below you will find the transcription of our five minute video interview, followed by an application for a strategy session.

Marilyn: Hi Marilyn O’Hearne here with Jon Cook, the the Global CEO of VMLY&R. We’re at CBIZ this morning where he’s going to be presenting on creativity and design. So John, give us a little preview of the program for today.

Jon: Thanks for having me. First of all, good job on saying VMLY&R. (Marilyn: I’ve been practicing!) I’m still getting used to it. Today we’re speaking on design and creativity. And I’m going to talk about, in this particular era, the fact that consumers expectations are so high for the experiences that they’ll have with brands and that the best experience you’ve had with a company is now the level set bar for the experience you’ll have with anyone. And so that puts a lot of demand on brands and organizations to have amazing experiences. So I’m going to talk about design thinking as a way to really penetrate and create a tension in that experience era. It’s gonna be fun. We’re gonna show a lot of really imaginative ways to reach consumers.

Marilyn: Great. And in a minute, I want to hear a quick example of that. If you could share, and I’m also sure that a lot of people listening, leaders and coaches are wondering, how do you stay creative? You’re in a creative field as you talk about, the expectations are high. So how do you keep your creativity up?

Jon: Yeah, well I’m kind of a “want to be” creative and the creative department tries to keep me far away from that. I just hang out with a lot of very creative people. We’ve got amazing talented people all over the world, that’s what they do for a living, and I get to be around them. It makes me creative by the “halo” of their creativity. And then I have three daughters that are all in college or high school, teenage age. And they know everything about all the platforms and every way to reach consumers and keep me really humble about how to do that.

Marilyn: Hmm. Humility. That is a key aspect of leadership.

Jon: It’s been beaten into me by my daughters!

Marilyn: Yes, and surrounding yourself with people that inspire you. Right. That’s great. We talked about a quick example.

Jon: Yes. I’m going to use several examples. I love an example from Delta Airlines. They’re not a client of ours; just somebody I admire. I fly them all time, way too much and I think they exceed experience expectations among all airlines in a really good way. A couple falls ago during the election, I got an email from them, you know, I’m a frequent frequent flyer. They used a couple pieces of data really well to make it seem like we had a personal connection. They knew that I was flying on election day because they had a flight that day and they knew what state I lived in. With those two pieces of information, about three weeks in advance, I got an email from them, saying, ‘hey, we see you’re flying on election day. Make sure to be able to cast your vote. Here’s the link to how you do that in the state of Kansas where you live.” And they put all that right into one email. I didn’t expect that from my airline. And I don’t think it’s a technology marvel by any means. They have two pieces of information that were pretty easy. They package those together. They exceeded my expectation. I’m a lifelong loyal customer.

Marilyn: I love that. And I’m thinking also, I saw recently a post that Delta had a photo image of two female plot pilots together, a mother and a daughter. That’s a hot topic, and one of my passions is breaking free from bias and being creative about being inclusive.

Jon: Well I think, I think inclusivity and creativity starts with having teams where the people generating the ideas are looking like, being like, understanding who they’re trying to communicate with. It’s impossible to connect if the creators aren’t somewhat of a mirror image of who they’re creating for. I think too often in ad agencies or any environment where there’s creativity, you have people who have no idea about the audience they’re connecting with because they haven’t walked in their shoes. I think that’s an important aspect of creativity.

Marilyn: Absolutely! And having the mix on the teams, right? So not everybody looks or acts or thinks the same way. That’s what the research says about why organizations with inclusivity are more profitable. Anything else you want to say, parting words here? We are delighted CBIZ is sponsoring this.

Jon: Yes. No, nothing else for me. We’ve talked about, I’m excited about today. I thought about design thinking in the experience era and the best way to do is just to show examples. So your question about the examples a good one. You could put all the science to it you want, and at the end of the day it’s about what do people experience and how do they feel. So that’s what my presentation will be, let’s live the thinking.

Marilyn: Well, I’m excited and I know the others here are too. We’re going to have a great turnout, and I can’t wait to hear the rest of the presentation. Thanks for being with us, Jon.

To your full potential, prosperity and peace (and our success, we are in this together!),

Marilyn O’Hearne, MSW, MCC, LLC; CQ MCC