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“Creativity is deeply rooted into our agency’s DNA”

Skellefteå, October 25th, 2018

With its headquarters located in Skellefteå, a town in the far north of Sweden, North Kingdom started in 2003 based on creative freedom, quality of work and curiosity. The agency describes itself as small, flexible and fast moving with big ideas, which they help bring to life.

North Kingdom has been quickly expanding over the last few years, working for clients such as Google, Warner Bros and Disney. Behind that growth has been David Eriksson, the agency’s Chief Creative Officer. In an interview with TIA, David described North Kingdom’s creativity culture and its main values, among many topics.

How could you describe the creativity culture at the agency?

The creativity has been part of North Kingdom since day one and is deeply rooted into our DNA. It takes form in the projects that we do, during our team days and also during casual lunch discussions. Curiosity and creativity are the things that drive us forward. The team thinking is at the core of our organization, where everyone collaborates towards a greater goal, building on each individual’s strengths and supporting each other’s weaknesses. We are also a very flat organization where the quality of your output is what is valued by your team members.

How is that culture cultivated and maintained?

I think it’s so deeply rooted into our DNA it is part of a daily ongoing discussion. Always being curious about what is around the corner, collaborating together to explore what new ideas and solutions we can bring not only to our clients but also our team. We also do have around 4 gatherings per year where the team gathers from all the different offices to discuss topics that the we feel should be discussed.

What are the skills someone should have to be part of your agency?

Our team consists of highly skilled people within UX-design, team management, front-end development, design, storytelling, 3D and motion design, communication and business management amongst other skills. What is mutual between all employees is the curiosity to constantly explore and learn.

Could you describe your hiring process?

We have tried using headhunters in the past but found that to be not so effective for us. We usually search in our wider network by asking the team to search in their own social networks for people that they think would be a good fit for a certain role in our team. This means that we usually do get a natural cultural fit from the start. When a person is identified as a possible future team member, we have a series of interviews involving senior management, cultural key people and discipline leads.

We tend to prioritize personality and character rather than experience and great CV. For us it is most important that the person fit in the team from a personality perspective (and the type of character varies depending on the current mix of people in the team) but also, we value characters that are willing to learn and have a natural curiosity about the world they live in.

How do you motivate team members to achieve more?

We encourage employees to explore their craftsmanship and having individual responsibility in each project. Each team in different projects have complete autonomy and we stay clear from micro-management. Instead, we invoke our “Creative Play” kind of working – a constant exploring journey with curiosity at heart.

How important is teamwork at the agency and how do you encourage it?

We believe that teamwork is the key to excellent work – it’s where different perspectives and skills are brought to the table that the best ideas are born out of. We encourage teamwork by integrating the “Creative Play” – way of working, and of course celebrating launched projects with the team. We also have annual team days where we focus on evolving our teamwork within North Kingdom.

What is the communication style within the team? Do you use any apps or tools?

Since we have offices in Los Angeles, Skellefteå and Stockholm that regularly collaborate on projects, a clear and honest communication is key. If not by face-to-face, we rely on Slack and Google Hangouts. We also encourage employees to work from different offices to fuel teamwork within North Kingdom.

What piece of advice would you give a recent grad looking to work in digital industry?

Find your Ikigai! Identify your expertise, follow your inner passion, try to find a team/company that matches your values and can match that with a sustainable business. You will spend too much time at work not to be working with people that you enjoy meeting every day.

Thanks David!

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