What’s the key to outstanding communications? Who better to ask than one of the best creative agencies around…
by Caroline Roodhouse
At Alive With Ideas we firmly believe that exceptional comms rely heavily on creativity. But while we can often struggle to get creative when we’re up against it, there is a practical way forward…
It’s teamwork - the support and input of others.
Teams work. The magic happens when characters collide. Just look at the brilliant Bake Off and consider this… How ever will Hollywood perform without the spark of his cake-making comrades?
Teamwork, collaboration and creativity
Each year the comms2point0 UnAwards has a theme – and this year it’s all about teamwork and collaboration.
Over the last three years the UnAwards have had hundreds of entries. Every single one has displayed oodles of creativity. Without it, that piece of work is just another run of the mill communication, banging its head against a brick wall.
But coming up with great ideas and thinking innovatively isn’t easy. In a world where ‘being creative’ can be hard, getting together to share a challenge can make all the difference.
‘Unity is strength. . . when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.’*
Group work drives creativity
To stand out and get noticed, our work needs to be unexpected. It needs to challenge the norm. And this is where creativity is essential. But no man is an island and we shouldn’t expect to achieve this alone. The key to achieving this is in setting up a process that allows creativity to happen, and that process requires YOU and YOUR PEOPLE. Teamwork is your trump card.
Dr Sarah Harvey, Associate Professor at University College London School of Management studies the way groups work together to boost creativity in businesses. According to Dr Harvey, ‘groups are often the creative engines that drive organisational innovation and performance.’
Perfect your brainstorming process
Brainstorming is used by many organisations to facilitate creativity, despite years of research that have challenged its effectiveness. Brainstorming can be a highly effective tool in the quest for creativity. It brings individuals together so they can challenge one another’s ideas and help each other to think through and build on those ideas.
But it’s not as simple as throwing people together in a room with a plate of donuts and a notepad. According to Dr Harvey, the process needs to be carefully managed and structured.
Cast away chaos and embrace order.
Our top tip for brainstorming success
It’s no secret that brainstorming doesn’t work that well for most teams. Sessions are often abandoned and many have dumped the idea of brainstorming altogether. But we believe that, under the right conditions, brainstorming can lead to innovative comms work, even award winning stuff. So we say, bring it back and make it work.
The key is constraints because they give us the ‘space’ to be creative within.
When planning team sessions, set out your boundaries at the start. Make them part of the brief – time scales, budgets, brand restraints, manpower. Be clear about what you are looking to achieve from the session. Divide and conquer – separate idea generation from selection and judgement. Be as specific as you need. Then watch the minds focus and create together. Because ‘none of us is as smart as all of us’**.
Keep it structured, check in on your constraints at regular intervals and avoid the temptation to go all free-for-all!
Boundaries are your friend.
Don’t go it alone. Teamwork and collaboration are essential for creative success brainstorm or not.
Alive With Ideas are official sponsors of the UnAwards16. You can enter them here (they close at midnight on 31 October)