Senior strategic planner and AdSchool Digital Strategy & Experience Design graduate, Jamie Parfitt shares his main sources of inspiration, the one book he urges everyone to read, and how the AdSchool course led to his new role in experience design.

TCC: How long have you been in the industry and in your current role?

JP: I’ve been in the industry for five years now, although it feels much longer! I’ve actually just recently moved to CX Agency Lavender after almost five fantastic years at Richards Rose (or AJF Partnership Sydney as they were known when I joined).

TCC: What was your degree in?

JP: I completed a Bachelors in Multimedia Design, majoring in digital design and advertising. Then a Masters in Communication, also majoring in advertising.

TCC: What is the best thing about your job and being in the industry?

JP: Personally, I love the variety. Every day is different, and you never know what’s around the corner. You may start the day working on bourbon, shift to deodorant after lunch, and end the day figuring out how to explain the benefits of a particular diversified fund to experienced financial advisors. The thought of working in some sort of Groundhog Day like job scares me.

TCC: What made you want to get into the industry?

JP: My dad worked in banking for 30 years and never particularly enjoyed what he did. So from an early age I made the decision that if i was going to spend 30+ years of my life working, it had better be doing something interesting.

Like many people I feel that I somewhat stumbled into this industry, and even my position within it. I wanted to intern in New York, and thought an advertising agency would be fun. I read about the roles in an advertising agency and picked the one that sounded most interesting. Next minute, here I am.

It just so happens that this industry currently enables my otherwise ‘useless’ skill set – creative (but not in a practical, tangible, artistic way), logical, and idealistic big picture thinking. But who knows, maybe I’ll find another that does too.

TCC: What are your wider career goals?

JP: Good question. I have no idea. Who knows what this industry, or the world, will look like in 5, 10 or 15 years time? Maybe I’ll take what I’ve learned and apply it elsewhere? I guess I’ll figure it out as I go.

Maybe I’ll see if I can help Elon Musk get us to Mars (he’s right – becoming a multi planetary species does seem to be our only hope).

TCC: Who do you look up to in the industry?

JP: Gareth Kay, Co-Founder of Chapter SF – always a voice of reason, and consistently ahead of the curve.

Scott Galloway, Professor of Marketing, NYU Stern – he’s not exactly in the industry, but again a voice of reason and consistently ahead of the curve.

TCC: What are your main sources of career inspiration?

JP: Books mainly. Where to begin…

  • Change By Design, Tim Brown
  • Creativity Inc., Ed Catmull
  • Nudge, Thaler & Sunstein
  • Freakonomics, Levitt & Dubner
  • The Design of Everyday Things, Donald Norman
  • The Inevitable, Kevin Kelly
  • Sprint, Jake Knapp
  • Elon Musk, Ashlee Vance
  • The Churchill Factor, Boris Johnson

But none of those are as important as Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. It’s the only book I urge everyone to read. Most of us (myself included, until reading Sapiens) have only been taught fragments of history and have very little understanding how we (humans) ended up with the world around us today. Sapiens starts from the beginning and puts everything into perspective. You’ll never look at the world in the same way again.

TCC: What motivates you on both a daily basis and to keep striving towards your goals?

JP: The weekend? No (well yes, but to better answer the question) I just hope I one day figure out what I want to be when I grow up. And then go do it.

TCC: What made you want to do the AdSchool Digital Strategy & Experience Design course?

JP: I’d been growing increasingly interested in experience design (hence the new job at CX Agency Lavender), and wanted to:

A) Learn more
B) See whether it felt right for me (…it did)

TCC: How would you describe it in a nutshell?

JP: A deluge of knowledge.

TCC: What was the best thing about it?

JP: Bohdi Lewis, the instructor. He’s a smart, passionate, successful and easy-going guy who clearly loves being able to share everything he’s learned / learned from over the years.

TCC: What was the number one thing you were able to apply in your day to day work?

JP: Bohdi shared a huge document of digital strategy templates, which serve as inspiration when working on similar projects. He also facilitated a digital resource sharing session within the group that has been incredibly useful source of helpful bits and pieces.

TCC: What is your favourite project/campaign you’ve worked on to date?

JP: A small group of us proactively conceptualised, prototyped and researched a card game for a client. In the end they didn’t buy it, but it was really fun to make and play.