FAMILIAR FACES: JAMES FULLER

What’s your role at Creative HQ?

I’m a Senior Innovation Specialist – I work with Creative HQ’s clients and ventures to provide mentoring and coaching around all things innovation, lean startup and agile.

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You also run a startup on the side can you tell us a bit about what it is and how you got into it?

The idea for Hnry all started when I first left permanent work and became self-employed. All of the compliance and tax stuff for contractors and freelancers is a massive hassle, and existing ways of solving the problem (like getting an accountant) only take a tiny part of the hassle away. I knew we could make it a lot simpler for people by just building an automated platform that handled everything. Now we have that platform up and running in NZ and have a strong base of customers, we’ll soon be rolling it out across the ditch and beyond.

With all of the mentoring, you provide for Creative HQ’s clients what does leadership mean to you?

From my perspective, leadership is all about empowering other people and helping them to fulfil their potential – it’s not necessarily about hierarchy or status. When I first started out, I always used to think that leadership was something you looked to ‘senior people’ for, however, it’s really not the case – leadership is about trusting others as much as you would trust yourself and helping them achieve their goals. I’m fortunate enough to work with a fantastic team of leaders at CHQ that are constantly striving to bring the best out in other people.

What impact does leadership have on innovation?

Our ability to innovate and do things differently is directly related to how empowered we feel. If we fear the repercussions of failure, or we feel as though we need to constantly need to ask someone else’s permission before acting, we’ll never be able to truly innovate. Being empowered to take calculated risks, to experiment and to iterate is all a product of our environment, and so from that standpoint, ‘leadership’ is about helping to provide that environment for yourself and others.

What would the Creative HQ team say your superpower is?

I’m pretty sure they would cite my copious tea-drinking as a superpower – which is decidedly unimpressive as superpowers go. Either that or my ‘amazing’ ability to talk at high speed for minutes on end without taking a breath. In either case, it’s not exactly laser-beam eyes or teleportation, is it?

What was your biggest accomplishment for the month of September?

I’ve been working with one of our Government clients for a while now, helping them adopt agile and lean ways of working and to embrace an innovation mindset. We started coaching a new team a short while ago, who took on quite a complex problem to solve. In the first few weeks, it was quite tough for them due to the new way of working being a massive culture shock, however around the start of September, it just all clicked into place. In the last few weeks, they’ve grown into an amazing team – fully engaged with these new methods and tools, and completely in tune with each other. It’s really great to see them becoming such a high-performing team, delivering lots of value at pace, and having fun doing it – seeing results like this is probably the most satisfying part of what I do.

Share something that inspires you…

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In all seriousness, I’m always trying to teach my two daughters, 6 and 2 (not my first choice of names) about the fact that failure is all part of learning, and rather than failure being the end of something, it’s actually just the first step on the road to solving a problem. I was a lot older than they are when I realised that it was ok to fail, and I learned to re-frame failure as ‘experimentation’, and if I’m honest I’m so conditioned to fear failure that I sometimes revert back to the bad old days of worrying about failing at something. One of the things that push me forward and inspires me is that I want to be able to show my daughters that it’s ok to fail and that no matter how old you get, there’s always room for learning and experimentation. (Basically, I’m inspired by the fear of appearing like a hypocrite in front of my kids – does that count?)

And finally, show us your desk…

james fuller

Read more about the people behind the business, last month we interviewed our Head of Operations, Amelia Devine. Or keep up to date with everything going on at Creative HQ by jumping on our mailing list.

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