The New Org Chart: Three Ways Creative Teams are Shifting and Changing

Business and technology are changing rapidly, and the org chart of many creative teams is not far behind.

In fact, four in 10 in-house creative professionals surveyed for our annual Creative Team of the Future project told us their teams reorganized in the past year. Even more surprising: one in four (26 percent) corporate creatives said they expect a revamped org chart in the coming year.

But what do these new org charts actually look like? And how will they impact your job as a creative professional? We spoke with some industry leaders and identified three org chart trends.

1. Traditional and digital merge

Over the past decade, many in-house departments and agencies created distinct digital teams to keep pace with technology. But now the forward thinkers are starting to move in the opposite direction. "I think the digital creative team is going away and being replaced by the creative team," says Joseph Corr, creative director at Deeplocal. "Right now, if you're a creator, you can't just be focused on traditional or digital. I think the best professionals can do everything."

Hornall Anderson, for example, dropped the term "interactive" from its designers' titles. "You're a designer," says Amy Marshall, the agency's talent manager. "I think that reflects a trend for us. We're looking for people who are design thinkers, who may have a specialization in one or two areas, but can tackle any design problem."

2. Corporations hire thinkers over doers

Top corporations have embraced design as the next competitive advantage, but that doesn't always mean you'll find more graphic designers on the org chart. "Some companies are bringing in more design expertise and not the hands to do it," says Christine Mau, European design director at Kimberly-Clark. "So not the doers, but the strategy and thinking."

Then those companies turn to the right agencies to execute the work. So instead of hiring and firing employees for specific projects that change from year to year, in-house teams are partnering with the right external resources to satisfy current and upcoming needs.

3. Org chart? What org chart?

There's also a move in some corners of the creative world to embrace decentralized teams. Stiff hierarchy and formal org charts are going out the window as technology allows far-flung teams to easily collaborate. "I see design teams becoming more virtual," says Terry Lee Stone, a writer, strategist and design manager, and the author of the Managing the Design Process book series. "I don't see them all forming into companies like they used to."

Instead, a creative director might pull together different teams for different projects. This approach makes it easier to tap into highly specialized skills, such as mobile development or social media strategy, as needed. "It's become more like a movie production model," Stone says. "You'll build a team for that project or film and you get all these people together."

Is your org chart changing? Are you hiring for new roles? The Creative Group can help. Check out our Hiring Resources page now!

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