In the above video, James reveals how AKQA's relationship with Nike has developed over the years, from a chance meeting through a mutual contact into a long and fruitful collaboration.
"The trick is, not to have agency and client - the trick is to have a group of people that comes from different businesses who want to work together to solve a problem," James explains.
"It's not about people sitting round with inane grins on their faces - innovation is tough, innovation is expensive, innovation takes an unreasonable amount of effort and it's not for everyone. But we spend a great deal of time nurturing the relationships with the clients we work with."
AKQA's first commission from Nike was a small project, but the agency's philosophy of constantly exceeding expectations and working closely with the client throughout the process paid dividends. "That's the essence of collaboration - where you can't say, these are the people doing the work, these are the people paying for the work," he concludes. "That's not the future. That's not how great work gets made."
James will be participating in a session exploring branding in the sports industry, alongside James Fairbank from indie cycle brand Rapha (opens in new tab), at the Impact Conference - a new one-day event from the makers of Computer Arts.
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Words: Nick Carson