Joint's founder explains why immigrants are his secret work weapon

Richard Exon: the founder of Joint
Richard Exon: the founder of Joint

Richard Exon's agency Joint simply couldn't exist without immigrants.

The world looks on slack-jawed at Donald Trump’s first few weeks in office and it’s hard not to wonder how his "America first" approach is going to affect us all.

As he conjures up a future of border walls and flight bans, many economists have been quick to point out that whenever a country or a culture isolates itself and pursues protectionist policies, the result is invariably economic decline.

And economic decline for the US is a real problem for all of us. Britain had its own version of this debate during the European Union referendum, with both sides furiously laying claim to an expansionist, international world view. And boy did the Vote Leave brigade hate being called Little Englanders. Especially when you pointed out that of course not all Brexiteers are racist, but all racists are Brexiteers.

And now immigration has been put front and centre of whether we end up with a hard, soft or chewy Brexit, it occurs to me that our company, Joint, simply couldn’t exist without immigrants.

The first people who spring to mind are the German, Spanish and French nationals who work here as creatives. Without them working alongside our awesome Brits, we simply could not get to the kind of ideas we do for clients such as Amazon Prime.

Remember the vicar and the imam, the tiny pony and the dog with a broken leg? These all run globally, unedited, because they are born out of universal truths about what it’s like to be a human on Planet Earth.

Having a diverse group of people isn’t the only way to get to these ideas, but it’s how Joint does it quickly and repeatedly. Our creative melting pot is filled with brilliant people who have come from all over the world.

And immigration at Joint doesn’t stop there. In a straw poll in the office, more than half our resident Brits, including me, have previously been immigrants elsewhere.

So thank goodness for immigrants. We’d be nowhere without them.

Richard Exon is the founder of Joint.

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