One of the most creative workspaces I’ve ever seen is at a PR firm. It’s been more than three years since I hired Denver’s JohnstonWells Public Relations at my last client-side job, but I thought of those ladies today while considering the value of a creative workspace. I was constantly amazed at the creativity, the fun and the energy that exuded from that place. Creativity was definitely a key brand component (and the almost all-female staff, but that’s a subject for another post) at JohnstonWells.
When you walk in the door, you see art everywhere. JW holds monthly creativity seminars. And each employee’s office or cubicle is identified with a small, hand-crafted totem rather than a name plate; the totem is made of elements that represent the person. JohnstonWells earned the Colorado Business Committee for the Arts 2003 Small Business Award and 2005 Creative Workspace Award. The staff – especially Kirsten Ritter and Ann Dickerson – oozed with enthusiasm borne of creativity. They approached every task as an opportunity to use their creative spirit to be relevant and to show the power of public relations.
Some might say the source of the creativity is the Rocky Mountains. It might be the city of Denver. I’m pretty sure, however, the creative vortex is in the office of Gwinavere Johnston, the CEO, the leader, the champion of all things creative at JW. Clearly, no firm invests that much in art, creative education and fun if the big cheese doesn’t approve, encourage and embrace the effort.
Frankly, my organization was at the beginning of a marketing retrenchment, and we didn’t allow the JW to sprint like we should have, but I always looked forward to interacting with the JohnstonWells staff. They brought something extra to the game every day. At JW, creativity is definitely queen!