North Kingdom的鼎鼎大名想来都不必介绍了，地球上最强的数字媒体公司之一，作品强到爆，奖杯拿到手软（目前累计87次获得国际性大奖，嘎纳、纽约、伦敦、CLIO、One Show、 theFWA应有尽有，这里就不报菜名了。）这家数字世界的北境王国(North Kingdom总部所在的Skellefteå位于北纬64.75度——北极圈的纬度是北纬66°34度)自身小巧而灵活，通过与遍布全球的伙伴们的通力合作(“As One Brain”)出的每一件出色作品，以及自始至终都从不妥协的做派(“We’ve been expanding quietly without compromising the ideals that got us started in 2003”)，始终站在业界的风口浪尖。
采访、编辑、翻译：DamnDigital Newsroom (原创内容，转载请注明来自DamnDigital)
David Eriksson: The technical evolution also is going so fast so we believe that it won’t be long before the word “Digital” has lost its importance
不久之前，我们介绍了North Kingdom的近作 “3 Dreams of Black”。这一次，北境之王——North Kingdom CEO兼CD David Erickson将接受互动中国的采访，引导我们窥探他治下的王国。
DM：North Kingdom始终坚持“自由创新，追求卓越品质，永葆好奇之心”（creative freedom, quality of work, curiosity），甚至把这三个词挂到了公司网站首页上？
David：我们并不把自己看成一家“纯粹”的数字广告代理商。我们大部分作品远非仅仅是数字广告那么简单——并且随着科技越来越快的进步，所谓“数字广告”也将逐渐变得没有那么重要。（Many of our projects today contains elements that wouldn’t be considered “pure” digital. The technical evolution also is going so fast so we believe that it won’t be long before the word “Digital” has lost its importance），我们始终致力于我们最为核心的领域：“讲故事（storytelling）”与“互动（interactive communication）”。
DM：North Kingdom以合作伙伴遍布全球著称，你们是如何在与远在千里之外的合作伙伴协同工作时做好项目管理的？这可能是中国同行最头痛的一个问题了。请你以“3 Dreams of Black”这个项目为例子为我们讲解一下。
David：我们一开始的愿景就是：不但要雇佣优秀的员工，也要与全世界最优秀的人才与团体合作，因此我们一直致力于学习如何控制复杂的项目。这里有一些简单的原则：把任务简单化，保持灵活与团队精神，设立阶段目标，最重要的是设法让团队中的每一个人集中精力在任务上。具体到“3 Dreams of Black”这个项目，我想说这是我们遇到过的最最复杂的项目没有之一，具体请看这里：North Kingdom:ROME & “3 Dreams of Black” 及其背后的故事(长文多图杀猫瞎眼)。
DM：在中国，有很多时候技术人员无法参与到创意环节之中，而仅仅局限于执行环节，这点在North Kingdom 是怎样的呢？技术人员如何像设计师那样参与到早期创意之中？
David：我们其实对我们所处的这行了解甚少。整个团队学以致用的对象一直是行业之外的东西。在总部的墙上有一幅画描绘了咖啡漫出咖啡杯的场景，配文为“探索你王国之外的世界””Look for inspiration beyond the reach of your Kingdom”。当然，员工们肯定有自己各自的偶像。
DM：You joined North Kingdom at 2005, what actually attracted you most to the company at that time?
David：Basically talented people with big creative ambitions. I had worked with the two founders before and I knew that the three of us was a really good match. It was also a startup and I knew that I could contribute. Teamwork has always been what I have been looking for and North Kingdom is a place where working as a team is a very central idea.
DM：Tell us more on your insistence on creative freedom, quality of work, curiosity, why you think they are most important to you through these years?
David：We have always believed in the power of creativity and quality. From the very beginning we have been very careful to make sure we make decisions from a creative perspective and not a financial. One of the first models I drew for the team when I joined was a simple cycle diagram that highlights the importance of a creative focus. Since then we have used quotes like “The details will betray you” and “There has to be love in every single pixel”
DM：How many employees do you have in North Kingdom now, including offices at Skellefteå, Stockholm and Gothenburg? Depending on your strength and reputation, why does North Kingdom keep being a small and pure digital agency?
David：We are 37 employees right now. 16 in our HQ up north in Skellefteå, 19 in Stockholm and 1 guy in Gothenburg and 1 guy in Klavreström. We have never seen any reason to grow any bigger unless it makes us get more interesting creative challenges from our clients.
David：What we see though is that we probably can’t consider us to be a pure digital agency any longer. Many of our projects today contains elements that wouldn’t be considered “pure” digital. The technical evolution also is going so fast so we believe that it won’t be long before the word “Digital” has lost its importance and we’ll be focusing on storytelling and interactive communication.
DM：What are the key rules/most important characters of your hiring policy?
David：For any position we are looking for talented, down-to-earth teamplayers with ambitions to create great creative work.
DM：What is your work flow? Do you have a unique method to keep creative?
David：We work in what we call a T(eam)-shaped model. All competences look at a project at the same time from their perspective.
David：The most effective teams today are competency-based teams, where each person comes to the group with a different skill and they work together to build something bigger than themselves.On these teams, everyone is an important decision-maker and is able to make a big difference.
David：Well-constructed teams provide an opportunity to be a decision maker and a key contributor early in ones career.
DM：You’re working with a big number of co-operators who widely scatter in the world, with different culture, different language and even different time zone, Have you being in charge of the project management well? How? It could be the most disturbing problem of Chinese production houses. Can you leverage the “3 Dreams of black” project for example, to show us how you make cards flourish?
David：When our ambition from the very beginning has been to not only hire talented people but also collaborate with the worlds best creatives in our projects, we have been forced to learn how to project manage these complex projects. In general it is not brain science but one simple rule – Keep it simple. Also flexibility, team spirit, setting ambitious project goals and having all of the project members focusing on them is important. For a more detailed breakdown on “3 Dreams of Black” please take a look at our blog. It was our most complex project ever. http://www.northkingdom.com/blog/making-of-3-dreams-of-black-part-1-process/
DM：Are there any internal sharing system, or sessions/ trainings that for Technicians in particular? Do you have any public libraries/documentations for technicians to study at spare time?
David：Not really we encourage our developers to be curious on what happens “out there”. 4 times every year the team get together and the developers have time to sit and discuss what their focus should be for the next upcoming months.
DM：In China, technicians are, more often than not, not in the creative discussion panel, but just follow the creative ideas they decided and only in charge of the execution and realization of ideas. What is the case about in North Kingdom’s teamwork? What the role technicians play in the ideas and creative stage? How technicians work with other team members, like designers for example?
David：PLease have a look at question 5
DM：How do you weave a best idea? Is any tricks? Such as your special brain storming part, the way you keep vigorous creativity or anything else.
David：I think that is always the big question but I must disappoint you and say that there is no trick besides hard work. The 1% of inspiration and 99% of transpiration is still very valid. Generating many ideas, the team perspective and never go with the easy solutions is also very important.
DM：Now you guys are cutting-edge, but who is your icon in this industry? Can you introduce them briefly?
David：Actually we are really bad at knowing our industry. As a team we try to be inspired by areas outside our business. We have a painting in our Skellefteå office with one of our internal sayings “Look for inspiration beyond the reach of your Kingdom”…
David：I believe however that all of us individually have or own icons and sources of inspiration.
DM：In addition to precocious ideas North Kingdom is also well known as always leveraging cutting-edge digital tech. So if you have a really crazy idea and a leading way to bring it alive, how would you persuade your clients and squeeze their budget? Good thing is always expensive.
David：Well, We are no different from others I guess. We make sure we have detailed and worked through presentation on an idea that we really believe in. We never try to “squeeze” budgets but we tell our clients what the idea will cost. If they don’t have the budgets to cover that idea we go back and make sure that we have an idea that fits their budget. Also our belief is that today great ideas doesn’t really need great budgets.
DM：How your staffs take the balance between work and life?
David：We have a 8 hr working day and try to make sure we keep it that way. Of course people need to work more sometimes at milestones in projects but the ambition is to keep our work as a work and be efficient. This way we all can go home to our families and friends and be re-energized for the next working day.
DM：Last question, you’ve been worked with Chinese guys twice, as we know, how do you like working with people from China? Compared with other digital talents, what do you think is the biggest lackness, or we can say the differences that Chinese people have in digital and creative area?
David：Any suggestion for us? We love China and are amazed by what is going on over there. We can’t really see any lackness except the bureaucracy that comes with doing business with China.
David：The Chinese economy is still developing at a great speed and I believe that China will soon be the no 1 country when it comes to leading the development of digital and communications business. You have access to an enormous pool of creative and talented people. I hope that I soon can come and visit China and see what’s going on with my own eyes!
DM：Is there any plan about China yet? (Leave this it if it’s confidential.)
David：Not any plan for China yet except trying to find even more interesting & creative projects and talented people to collaborate with!