Leaders

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The value of collaboration in creative work

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How do you establish a collaboration-friendly infrastructure in your team, especially in these corona times? Among the many things the pandemic has done for us, losing team meetings and face-to-face interactions was a hard blow to all of us, and few have felt this as much as creative organisations.

With Zoom welcoming our team in our living room, some agencies like Splendid Communications have started breaking down the siloes by welcoming a more collaborative approach, an environment in which everyone is creative no matter what they do.

We reached out to Fran Langdon, Associate Director and lead on creative process at Splendid Communications, to learn more about the value of collaborative creativity.

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Everyone has a part to play – The value of Collaborative Working when it comes to creativity

2020 has tested creativity to its limits, challenging the nation’s positivity, and depriving creatives of what I personally believe is the proverbial tinder to creative sparks: old-fashioned, zoom-free, face to face interaction. 

And yet, the industry has prevailed, and Splendid has produced ideas that have truly dominated mainstream conversation. So, the question is… how?

Empowerment  

Sounds simple, but the days of creatives working in silos to the rest of the agency need to become a thing of the past. Everyone is creative, no matter what stage of their career, or what their background is; they simply need to feel empowered. 

The first, and key, part of this empowerment is giving staff the training and tools they need to be creative. Though many view it as such, creativity isn’t some God-given gift, bestowed upon a lucky few. It’s simply a muscle that needs to be flexed, a science that can be learned. 

Creativity isn’t some God-given gift, bestowed upon a lucky few. It’s simply a muscle that needs to be flexed, a science that can be learned. 

The second is ensuring the relevant safety checks are in place. All staff will have the space for creativity if the senior team around them is carefully structured to spot and nurture ideas. 

Once in place, the result will be an environment where a mix of ages and demographics can and are contributing ideas – a scenario that can only be advantageous. After all, involving everyone in the process in different ways ensures ideas that are culturally relevant, current, innovative and – more often than not – bang on the money in terms of audience targeting and tonality. 

Adaptable Teams

Having such a flexible structure in place, where everyone can contribute creatively, is advantageous for both agency and client too. 

After all, one man’s personal finance nightmare is another man’s dream. Putting talented people on accounts suited to their personalities and interests yields incredible results, and people-first thinking rooted in real-world insights.

Creative Exhaustion

We’ve all been there – the impossible brief that’s had more comebacks than Craig David. 

Creative exhaustion is a thing, and sometimes, people simply need a break. Except – this isn’t always possible with a less flexible structure. A collaborative approach to creative working proves itself once again in this respect – when done right, there’s essentially a creative reserve squad waiting on the sidelines at all times.

Playing the Long Game

Stating the obvious perhaps, but nurturing a creative agency environment amongst all staff members leads to long-term staff retention and not only attracts excellent talent seeking more creative freedom, but also leads to employees that are the some of the best in the business. From interns that start on the Splendid Futures programme and up, a collaborative approach is resulting in well-rounded individuals able to think laterally, nimbly solve client challenges and ultimately deliver ideas that are shifting the dial on cultural conversation. 

Future Proofing 

Notwithstanding the above, working collaboratively on creative briefs in this way has so far proved itself to be immeasurable in value. It has seen Splendid conquer some truly unchartered creative waters in 2020, and proven itself time and again to be largely immune to the numerous pitfalls of the new virtual world we find ourselves in. 

To cobble together a famous American quote and an old English proverb, poet Maya Angelou once notably said, “You can't use up creativity. The more you use the more you have." The proverb goes: “Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” 

In a world where magazines are closing, journalist numbers are dwindling and modern creators are flourishing, to compete creatively it’s imperative we teach everyone to fish creatively, and do it often. 


Fran Langdon is the Associate Director and lead on creative process at Splendid Communications. Header image: Thorbjørn Rudd

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