O&M London's Chief Creative Officer, Mick Mahoney, tells Campaign why creatives need to be more unreasonable to achieve change.


"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man." (George Bernard Shaw) 

Just to be clear, being unreasonable isn’t an excuse to be a bellend. To clarify further, there’s good unreasonable and bad unreasonable. Good unreasonable is being uncompromising, challenging, demanding of yourself and others, dissatisfied, restless and honest. Bad unreasonable is being uninformed (the most intransigent arguments are usually the result of an uninformed view point), biased, arrogant and political.

The history of everything tells us that unless you are prepared to be unreasonable, nothing changes. No fresh thoughts will be formed. Jobs, Gandhi, Kubrick: heroes of unreasonable. It’s unlikely that they worried too much about maintaining the status quo at the expense of progress.

Then why, as an industry founded on the pursuit of fresh thinking, aren’t we all unreasonable all of the time?  Because it involves risk, which we are hard wired to avoid – the risk of conflict, failure, even humiliation.

Our brain’s connections are like a series of roads. The things you know are built like superhighways and the things you don’t, like single lane mud tracks. The more familiar you are with a thought or a concept, the stronger the connection will be. This means our brains default to working with what we know. So, unless you have an intense desire to challenge it, your brain’s sat-nav will always default to taking you to the main road. 

So, how do you get your brain to turn off at the next slip road? Find out from Mick in the original article in Campaign here.