Creativity is what inspires us, but it is also who we are as humans

Jose Miguel Sokoloff, Global President, MullenLowe Group Creative Council and Chief Creative Officer, MullenLowe Group UK on why supporting creative students is more important than ever.

Jose Miguel Sokoloff, MullenLowe Group UK

Chief Creative Officer


Poets, playwrights, performers, architects and ceramicists. These are the creators who are going to enrich our lives in the years to come as their solutions will be the ones that push the world forward. Emerging talent in any field usually brings the most revolutionary and powerful ideas to the table, and there is a lot we can all learn from this new thinking, especially in an industry like ours where talent is usually sourced from very few disciplines.

Looking only within the industry will put us in a dangerous position as we’ll be doomed to repeat ourselves, not to mention the fact that our jobs would become tremendously boring. It’s important to understand what the world is doing and where it’s heading and to do this, we must step out of our comfort zone.

How can we step out of our comfort zone? Look at work that goes beyond the constraints in which we currently operate and to people who are being creative for creativity’s sake. The line between art and advertising is constantly blurring so looking at creativity outside of the realms of the commercial world is exactly the kind that we should incorporate into our day-to-day lives if we want to be inspired.

A vision of the future

Benefits for our industry aside, there’s no time like the present to make sure we’re doing all we can to support students. We need to let these brilliant young minds know that the opportunities are not gone, that we still see them and are interested in what they have to say. It’s so easy to overlook this and concentrate on what’s urgent right now but there are a lot of people taking care of the urgent for us.

With the urgent taken care of, that frees us up to focus on what’s important. Supporting young talent is one of those things. We have an obligation to show them that the window of opportunity is still here. Not just because this current climate means it may be difficult for them post-graduation, but because these students are going to solve the problems of the world in a much more interesting way than we ever could. They’re presenting a vision of the future and we must embrace that at every opportunity.

We need to nurture creativity in any way we can, and we need to support and encourage the spirit of experimentation to break new ground these young creators have. This may be the smartest shortcut to move us all forward.

Jose Miguel Sokoloff

While judging work from Central Saint Martins for the 2020 MullenLowe NOVA Awards, I’ve been blown away by the adaptability of the students. They’ve managed to alter projects they’ve been working on for years and create work that is a tribute to themselves and a tribute to humanity, showing us how creativity can be used to shape the world we live in. Their projects have made me think about what we’re doing and how we’re behaving as humans, therefore how we can change to continue to push society forward. It’s made me consider what I’m willing to give up, and what I’m not, and if more people engage with work like this and come to that conclusion, then we’ll find some really interesting solutions to real-world problems.

Thinking inside the box

All of the questioning is fundamental, and that is what most of these kids are doing, thinking inside the box, which is much harder than thinking outside the box. Take tennis, for example. It’s fundamentally a game of boxes and if you take away the box, it’s no longer a fun game. As soon as there’s a box and people have to play within those parameters then it starts to become interesting. Creativity behaves much like that.

When you have a very defined box, great ideas emerge. And that is exactly what these students have done. In the face of some very real restrictions, the work is still amazing. From hotel rooms, bathrooms and their parents’ houses all over the world, they’ve reshaped their work with very limited space, equipment, materials and people to consult, pushing the boundaries of their own creativity to create work that’s really going to make a difference to the world we live in.

Creativity is what inspires us, but it is also who we are as humans. We need to nurture creativity in any way we can, and we need to support and encourage the spirit of experimentation to break new ground these young creators have. This may be the smartest shortcut to move us all forward. 

Visit the NOVA awards website to find out more and to vote.

Guest Author

Jose Miguel Sokoloff, MullenLowe Group UK

Chief Creative Officer,


Jose Miguel Sokoloff is one of the most internationally awarded and respected advertising creatives and peace proponents in the world. Native to Colombia, Jose Miguel’s most recognised work for the Colombian Ministry of Defense has propelled him from advertising creative to cultural figure, having spoken and appeared across a variety of widely recognised platforms with mass audiences such as TED Global, NPR’s This American Life and WIRED, in addition to the ad industry’s most renowned forums such as the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. In his role as Global President, MullenLowe Group Creative Council, Jose Miguel leads the network’s top creative talent to continued success for client’s brands in addition to enhancing network integration, collaboration and growth. Under Sokoloff’s creative leadership, MullenLowe Group has been named a Cannes Top 10 Network, the 2018 Ad Age Agency A-List and in 2019, ranked top ten ‘Top Agency Networks for Creativity’ in the WARC Creative 100. Most recently, his input as Chief Creative Officer led MullenLowe Group UK to be named Agency of The Year at the Campaigns for Good Awards 2019.