This Is What I Do: John V Willshire, PHD

John V Willshire, is head of innovation at PHD

John V Willshire, head of innovation at PHD
John V Willshire, head of innovation at PHD

What does your job involve?
Asking questions. Telling stories. The creation and cultivation of ideas through the study of technological, social and cultural trends. Annoying the Luddites. Offering people the choice between the red pill and the blue pill. Not taking myself too seriously. Building a Tardis in my spare time. Improving my short attention span...

What's it like working for PHD?

It's wonderful. PHD has the brightest, nicest people in the business; together, we can do anything.

What qualifications and experience do you need?
To work for PHD you need to have that itch that starts at the bottom of the stomach and works its way through your entire body, until it blurts uncontrollably out of your mouth and asks the rest of the world "Why?" Immediately afterwards there's a spark deep in your skull that sets off a reaction that fills your head and you can't help but find yourself saying "Well, what if..."

How do you spend a typical day?
I try to live by the five tenets of
1) wander and wonder; 2) synthesize and summarise; 3) link and leap; 4) mix and match; 5) experience and empathise - all of which help drive innovation for our clients. I share a lot of it at

What's the best thing about your job?
We have always connected people to companies. Nowadays, instead of five ways to do that, there are five million. Every day we find at our feet the endless potential and possibility that the modern age presents. It's like playing with the biggest, most connective Lego set ever.

And the worst?
There are not enough hours in the day to achieve everything I think we could.

What keeps you awake at night?

Like Chuck Norris, I don't sleep; I wait.

Who helped you get where you are?
You can't pull apart single influence I don't think. The answer has to be "everyone". Thanks, everyone. Oh, and Douglas Adams.

Who do you aspire to be like?
Equal parts Fraggle, Tigger, Dr Who, and Ole Kirk Christiansen (the inventor of Lego). Oh, and Douglas Adams.

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