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The Creative Essentials of John Florek, VP Director of Creative Innovation, Arc Worldwide

John Florek isn’t just a creative at work. From making music, to making a workbench (that may or may not have made him cry), check out all the things that John makes to stay inspired.

For John Florek, VP director of creative innovation at Arc Worldwide, inspiration comes in many forms.

In his role at Arc Worldwide, John is constantly innovating and pushing his teams to do the same. But creativity expands past the day-to-day for John.

On top of his responsibilities at work, John recently led Smart Signals, an internal design and innovation contest in which 40 creatives were divided into teams to create objects that used internet data to output information in a creative way. The initiative not only pushed team members out of their comfort zones to build something unique, but also connected employees across the agency who don’t typically work together.

Even when John isn’t at work or leading internal initiatives like Smart Signals, he still continues to create. At home, John’s wide range of creative pursuits keep him inspired on the daily. From music, to food, to woodworking, John is constantly making something new.

Read on to find out what makes John, well, John.


For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a nagging need to make things.

I’ve made music.
This guitar was a wedding gift from my wife, Bethany. When we got married, I was still in a band and it was my dream guitar. She didn’t tell me she had gotten it for me. Instead, she put it on my guitar rack with my other guitars and patiently waited a day and a half until I noticed and freaked out.

I’ve made things out of wood.
From dining tables and light fixtures, to cabinets and benches, it’s hard to find a room in our house that doesn’t have some random thing I made out of wood. This is not to imply, however, that I’m actually good at making said things. Oh, and I’m also really slow. Just ask my poor parents, who I’m sure have been praying for me to finish building their basement bar for about two years.

I’ve made human beings.
My son Welles (age 6) and my daughter Rowen (age 10) are both very inspiring, creative kids. As much as I’d like to think they get that from me, it’s probably more my wife – a personal stylist with a gift for making people feel like the best version of themselves.

I made a workbench that almost made me cry.
When my daughter was much younger, she was playing in the garage while I was at work. A couple of weeks later, I noticed she had written “I LOVE You DaD [heart] Me” on the workbench I’d just built. I scrapped the rest of the bench, but kept that piece. I loved that she didn’t tell me she’d written it, she just left it for me to find. I’m pretty sure she inherited that move from my wife, too.

I’m always making meals in new ways.
Lately my love for cooking has combined with my love for technology to make for lots of fun experimenting in the kitchen. I got a sous-vide device for Christmas and it’s amazing. I can’t believe how many things you can cook to perfection in a vacuum-sealed bag.

I’m making time for hockey.
In the free time between making things at home and at work, I clear my head by playing goalie for a few men’s league hockey teams. And if I’m not playing, I’m watching. In June 2015, I was lucky enough to see the Blackhawks win The Cup on home ice at the United Center.

I’m creating my future.
I’m grateful to be in a creative role that’s focused on innovation because at least now I have a built-in excuse to geek out about the newest gadgets and emerging technologies. I’ve seen some incredible mixed-reality storytelling and entertainment experiences, but lately I’m also really inspired by the idea of VR and AR as an immersive new utility for creators. Having the ability to design a physical space for a brand experience while you’re standing in the middle of it, or designing a new product in 3D on the table in front of you, are things that get me excited, and I’m not even a designer. I can’t wait to see what’s next. (See, now I’m geeking out, but “it’s for work.”)

June 29, 2018