36 hours in the life of a Creative Director

Hey everyone, my name is Pelle Kimvall, and I spend the working hours of my day at PwC as Creative Director. And why would an assurance and consultancy firm need a CD you ask? Well, first of all creativity needs to start from the core of the business but it is also a question of creating a creative environment, everyone can be creative and it’s probably true that creativity is the last thing that AI will take over. 

I begin my days very early and on a thorough schedule. Some of my friends think I am crazy, but I have done this for a long time now and I have never felt this strong both physically and mentally.
I love my job because it mixes creating the best experiences with developing sustainable business and really getting deep into technology. It has always been a key driver for me to seek out new knowledge, constantly evolve and change your perception.

04.30 – 05.00 – Meditation
● I have my favorite YouTube video with this amazing ambient song that always meditate to.

05.00 – 06.00 – Running
● I have the gym on the other side of the street from where I live and I do my time on the treadmill, even if I doubt why I do it many mornings, I try to remind myself that it clears my head and makes me feel mentally stronger throughout the day 06.00 – 07.00 – Reading

● I try to keep on developing myself every morning and now I have my to-read book list but otherwise I try to alternate between new tools and processes and philosophy. Right now I am reading The Courage of Truth by Michel Foucault.

07.00 – 07.45 – Breakfast time
● As always, oatmeal with two boiled eggs.

08.15 – 08.30 – Walk to the office
● Location has always been an important part for me. I strive towards living close to the office to have the chance to walk from and to every day.

08.30 – 09.00 – Management Stand-up
● We are three persons that leads the newly started department, so this morning Bosse, Marcus and me got together over Google Meet to just go through the list of things that we have to align and take action on.

09.00 – 12.00 – Customer Journey mapping
● We’re in the middle of developing our new service and therefore work with a very old school printed out Customer Journey that we keep on extending and rearranging the more validation and confirmation we get from our customers.

13.00 – 13.30 – Check-in and pitch control
● We try to spread the creative ability to all parts of the firm and right now I’m located at Assurance to help them out. We try to reinvent how we as a firm pitch and make sure we have a user first approach were we question how the best way is to consume this
information so it really sticks with the user and not only lingers as information on paper or screen.

14.00 – 15.00 – Meeting with potential partner
● We constantly try to extend our ecosystem with partners around us and today it was an ongoing partnership meeting with Bisnode where we discussed how we want to work together to become more innovative on both sides.

16.00 – 17.30 – Interview with potential co-worker
● We are building up a hybrid between the business and the support function to erase the line between these two, and to understand the power of working more integrated together. So I make sure to also meet and sit down with all the people coming in to our new department. We’re building a team and a culture and bringing in the right type of people is the absolute key factor for success.

18.00 – 19.30 – Thai take-away
● I always try to make food at home but to be honest I’m also lazy and swinging by the Thai restaurant is always an easy shot, at least I try to stay out of heavy protein intake this late.

19.30 – 21.30 – Browsing Netflix or reading something interesting
● I got into the Bill Gates documentary that I’ve actually rewatched, I’m amazed about that guys brain capacity. Otherwise I try to have as little consumption of information as possible, I either watch the news or read, right now I’m reading the Circle that is both a bit scary and very realistic in my opinion.

04.30 – 08.30 – Morning routine
● Same as always, even on weekends. To be honest I don’t think the body knows if it’s a weekend or weekday, I guess when we were invented these kind of days didn’t exist.

09.00 – 11.00 – User testing
● It’s always amazing to see what the team has been developing the past week and even if I always pop in to get a preview, there is nothing like actually seeing the reactions in real users hands and the happy faces of solving their everyday problems long before they actually understood they had them.

11.45 – 12:45 – Lunch with a friend
● Having lunch with an old client that became a dear friend for also bouncing identified ideas and insights with someone is always the perfect validation of thoughts. It often becomes pretty work oriented but the people around me also know that I don’t see it as work. I am what I do and I am always myself.

13.00 – 15.00 – Retrospect
● Ending the week by going to the teams retrospect meeting and hearing the happy thoughts about what happened during the week, who has been working with what, where will we need to improve and will we simply stop doing. Having these kind of honest and authentic interactions really strengthens me.

Why I choose this role and how I got here: I believe that creativity is an ability that should become a core of all businesses so that they can keep on improving and stay relevant by solving complex problems. I didn’t choose this role, it kind of choose me, I’ve been working with innovation as a marketing tool for so long, developing new cool services and products, and every time it was time to give it back to the company the whole thing fell apart. Because it’s only 10% that is visible, changing behaviour inside the company is the remaining 90%. The company needs to change with the new value creation and learn how to nurture it. 

About me and the program I attended at Hyper Island: I’ve just turned 30 and I can’t believe that it’s already been over 10 years since I attended the Digital media creative. I still use the tools every day and I would definitely say that my time at Hyper Island shaped me in my way of approaching things and the way I think. That mindset has since been appreciated by, but also frustrating for, people around me since it usually also includes change. 

Things that inspire me: 

  • Change by Design written by Tim Brown 
  • Make Time Written by Jake Knapp & John Zeratsky 
  • https://www.fastcompany.com/3054433/the-most-important-design-jobs-of-the-future 
  • https://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity?language=en 

Right now I’m studying for a personal MBA in business, it’s a major stack of books that I just now pile trough with enthusiasm. I also try to have people with different skill sets than me around me. I’ve started to embrace the gig economy and every time I get the chance to bring in freelancers to get outside-in perspective and cross pollinate with more unexpected roles, amazing things comes out. 

Portfolio, IG account, Linkedin, etc: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kimvall/ 

What expectations do you have from your company? To keep on pushing and follow our purpose of creating change in society and solve important problems. My personal expectation is to not let the company stand in the way of people and their personal development. I believe the freedom my role provides have accelerated my development with tripled speed and that’s something I will forever be grateful for.

How did you get the right set of skills for this role?
I never stopped daring to learn more and understand bigger patterns in a combination of mega details. It’s been a constant pushing of going outside my comfort zone and today I sometimes ask myself if I even have one any more? But I’ve made sure to also ask for help when needed and to let go of prestige, even when I kind of understand something I still have someone explain it once again for me. But most of all, always ask the otherside, the only way to really learn is to ask for the opposite perspective. It’s sometimes tough, but always worth it in the long run.