At times, repetition can feel like a creative buzzkill. But as long as there’s a conscious effort to continuously stay fresh, your team can out-ideate even the biggest agencies. Here are 5 experts on how to maintain truly creative ideas amongst your ad production team.
Explore uncharted territory
“There are two types of marketers: one sees the idea and says no, that’s no good. The other gets excited – because it hasn’t been done before.” – Fernando Machado, global CMO, Burger King
Advertising would be a dull industry without experimentation. Even if the idea misses the mark, testing the unfamiliar will always have a greater chance of being noticed. Plus, risk-takers have been shown to be more satisfied with their lives because of it. One way to begin gearing your team’s ideation towards the unexpected, is to ask for a weekly list of entirely novel ideas. These can range from wonderful to terrible, they just need to be new. Sharing these lists will open up the mindset of your team, encourage them to get out of the vacuum. Even the most nonsensical ideas are sure to spur thought-provoking discussions.
“I don’t think you should be cautious as a young person. Fear is the biggest creativity killer. You need to stay naive, fearless, and believe anything is possible. I don’t believe I would have created the work I have at this point if I had listened to the fear. It’s like surfing. Once you choose your wave, you need to commit yourself to taking that wave. No hesitation. No turning back.” – Chris Garbutt, global CCO, TBWA Worldwide
What happens to the brain when it experiences fear? According to Dr. Wendy Suzuki, NYU Neuroscientist, professor and author of Healthy Brain Happy Life, fear severely impacts both your memory (and therefore performance) along with your creativity. Constantly being in fight-or-flight mode impacts your brain plasticity. Meaning, physical changes can actually occur in your brain. An illness like PTSD can literally shrink your temporal lobe (memory) and hippocampus (creativity and imagination).
Beyond the scientific reasons, fear creates a hostile and unpleasant work environment. How can you expect to attract the most creative minds in the industry if your culture has a poor reputation? In fact, 46% of job seekers list company culture as a “very important” factor, while 88% consider it an evaluative factor.
The overall takeaway is simple: be good to your employees, encourage them, and hear them out without judgement. Remember the long-term impact of fear. After all, ground-breaking ideas often arise when creatives feel comfortable running wild.
Support with a strong foundation
“Take the time to document and plan out everything necessary to get your operations online — build the relationships with other service teams, determine feasible platforms for information and assets, and build a robust onboarding program. You’ll have a happy and confident team, an organized framework that saves everyone time and allows them to do their jobs, and builds the base from which to initiate interesting and innovative in-house-agency-specific programs and initiatives.” – Alice Wong, director of creative & global site operations, Walmart
As with anything, a strong foundation is necessary for a successful in-house team. In Wong’s piece “The Importance of a Strong Infrastructure in Building an In-house Team and Preparing for Automation,” she explores setting up the basic processes when setting up an in-house team. Even if you already have one established, do a check up on the items she discusses (such as onboarding and technology supplies). You may be overlooking something that could eventually require time and resources to resolve — meaning, less time for creativity.
Managers of all levels need to lead by example. In this case, they can do so by practicing routines which cultivate creative thinking. Apparently 60% of CEOs cited creativity as the most important leadership quality. Think about the power of this quality on a larger scale. In other words, if you want your brand to be a leader in its industry, it’s time to start inspiring creativity in your creative production teams.
Feed creativity outside the office
“Make time to feed your creative soul. Don’t let the job become your everything even as the pressure will be on to make the job a 24/7 commitment. Get out to that exhibit, that show, that improv class you don’t have time for. Because it will keep you happy, keep you growing and assure you’re bringing something special to the party every day.” – Nancy Vonk, co-founder of creative leadership consultancy, Swim
Create balance in your life — no matter how many times we hear that one, it doesn’t always stick. But in order to nurture creativity, or even quality productivity in general, people need frequent exposure to a variety of stimuli. As a manager, it’s your job to encourage your team to seek this out.
Exposure to different settings can also allow team members to experience “The Shower Principle.” If you’re not a fan of 30 Rock, the “principle” basically states that our best ideas are thought of while showering, as your mind is distracted from the problem at hand. Funny enough, there’s scientific-backing to this theory. Apparently, 72% of people report getting their best ideas during showers.
Build methodical habits
“You can learn how to focus on and fully execute your vision through any resistance, how to capture new ideas and act on them in a manageable way. That way, you can tackle them methodically, one at a time. The scale of the output that follows will be breathtaking.”- Chase Jarvis, CEO, CreativeLive
Structure isn’t the antithesis of creativity. It can actually be a powerful way to harness and tap into creative thought as needed. Not to mention, all creative work functions within the bounds of some type of structure (the alphabet, music scale, etc). Likewise, in order to maintain functionality, your ad production team will have to abide by certain methods and structures.
What’s the best way to ensure participation? Practice actions which reinforce structural setups until they become habits. These can be simple like daily standup meetings, a clear feedback process, or a periodic brainstorm sessions. Once these behaviors become automatic, which takes 2 months on average, your brain won’t have to consciously think about the details of your workflow.
Ready to put these lessons into action? Reach out today, we can help.
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