Written By Kally Boshnakova, Creative Manager.

In our latest insightful feature, we hear from our Studio Creative Manager, Kally, who alongside her team has been getting to grips with an array of new ways of creative working in lockdown. In the first of a three-part series, Kally outlines how you can continue to nurture creativity whilst working remotely.

Most non-essential shops remain closed, new ways of working have been adopted and everyone is staying inside where possible. The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted our norm overnight. In this three-part series, we explore the behaviour changes that have come about in the last couple of months, specifically in the realm of creativity.

By bringing awareness to how these unprecedented times are affecting the way we create, albeit within a personal realm, professional capacity or as a society overall. Hopefully, we can build learnings into strategies, to help us thrive within our current parameters.

The business of creativity

The essence of professionalism is to be able to focus on the work at hand and to be able to deliver creatively time and time again. To do that, teams usually have a tried and tested set of processes to springboard ideas, from conception through to fruition.

Inevitably, like most things, Coronavirus has knocked the majority of these on their head. Whilst having to rethink ways of working has been quite daunting, it’s also an excellent opportunity to audit and give our methods a spring refresh.

In this article, we lay out observations and advice gathered over the last couple of weeks, from our team to yours.

Team brainstorms re-imagined for remote working

At Wavemaker North, a meeting room wallpapered in post-it notes and the rainbow scrawlings of budget markers are synonymous with our creative processes. These familiar images really illustrate the tactility and collaborative nature of the process that we’ve grown accustomed to.

In doing our creative processes audit, let’s make sure that the strategies and energy that delivered for us previously, isn’t lost in our move to remote working. Making technology work for you is key in enabling creative practices to live on digitally.

  • We’ve fostered a penchant for creative hoarding in the office. Meaning that we enjoy a ‘well-decorated’ creative space, boasting a working mood board of ideas and inspiration that we’ve collected. The mood board shall await our return, but in the meantime, we’ve really leaned into the use of shared image-based apps to collate quick ideas and creative references. Pinterest boards and Apple shared albums are two key tools for us at the moment. The latter being particularly useful to quickly and easily store sketches and notes.
  • A face-to-face team meeting, with everything laid out on the table naturally lends itself to make holistic ‘bigger picture’ thinking easier. I’ve found that this nuance is lost in some online chats. For ideas sessions, we have found that putting together a quick mind map capturing the overall picture is a great reference to have on-screen during the call, to keep the focus on tying everything together. With a digital stylus at hand, a build on this is to have this as a working Photoshop file that can be updated during the call in the same way a whiteboard would have been used at the office.
  • Regarding timing and project management, we’ve always used Trello within our team to maintain our Studio calendar, however not to the full degree of functionality. Without being able to verbally check in like we used to, it’s been particularly useful to have an up-to-date working version of our to-do list.

Great ideas can’t be created in a vacuum!

Even the most original ideas are built on cultural awareness and the shoulders of giants before us. There’s a damaging myth that unique ideas can be magicked out of thin air. Dismissing influences in an attempt at ‘true’ originality is an entirely inefficient use of time. Great ideas can’t be created in a vacuum – you need to input a steady stream of stimulus from different sources in order to feed the ideation process.

So isolation can really be of detriment to this. Pre-lockdown activities such as office chats, exhibition visits, creative meetups and travel that previously fueled our inspiration reserves, have now all been omitted from our routines.

So in the current situation, we need to be more proactive in replenishing them. Without renewed energy pumped into the ideation process, eventually, we sacrifice our creative yield.

A few practices that we have introduced in order to combat the situation are listed below.

  • Build a practice of sharing a new idea each a day within your team.
  • TED talks are great and enriching content for over lunch.
  • Cultural institutions have done a lot to create accessibility to talks and exhibitions online.
  • Take advantage of the recent rise of webinars and online thought panels. There’s been a great increase in experts providing new content.
  • Start a reading challenge.

Indulge your brain in new ideas, and importantly, share and discuss with your team.

We’re all working to the same brief

The current situation is less than ideal for most brands. Our clients are facing a host of new challenges and are acutely aware of the need to be sensitive with comms in the current climate.

However, it’s not a time to grind messaging to a halt, but rather a time to focus on the brand. Historically, brands that have continued investment in advertising through economic downturns have benefitted from longer-term growth in comparison to those that pulled efforts. Yes, it’s a time of uncertainty, but brands that can make an impact by supporting consumers and providing relevant content will be remembered.

For those of us in the business of creativity, it’s essential to be attentive to our clients’ current qualms and tread carefully, whilst realising the opportunity to make an impact for them.

All creatives are essentially working on the same brief at the minute, with the same challenges and trepidations. By this merit, if done in the right way and by the right brand, there’s an opportunity to really make an impression by sticking your head above the parapet.  It’s important to be reactive, but equally being bold and visionary pays dividends.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this first article about adapting your creative processes. Stay tuned for part two coming this time next week.