No One Is an Island
I lead a team of designers and copywriters who produce all kinds of materials for our brand. When something customer-facing goes out, it’s likely we’ve already had our hands (or pens) on it. Yet, despite knowing our work, few know us as individuals.
That’s because, generally speaking, the workplace praises productivity over creativity. There are deadlines to meet, stakeholders to please. The emphasis is on deliverables—that’s just the fast-paced nature of business.
As a Creative in a large organization, your time is allocated to various projects before you can even blink. Along the workflow pipeline, requests come in, creative assets are magically pumped out, and the work day moves on. The Creative becomes almost invisible, bogged down in day-to-day production work.
But Creatives aren’t mystical beings and creative assets don’t grow on trees. With that in mind, I wanted to put a spotlight on my Creative Team and show off our skills a little with something that said “Hey, we’re still here! We put a lot of thought and care into our creative work and we’re excited to share. Let’s work together!” I also wanted something that could help bond our team and encourage others to interact with us.
Enter Creative Sprint.
Creativity is Contagious
The October Creative Sprint was the perfect opportunity for my team and I to flex our chops and do something enjoyable together. It would provide a breather from the workweek and give us something to think about, work on, and discuss.
So, we went for it. We commandeered some wall space and decided to post all our work on a giant whiteboard—in full view of everyone on the floor. Now, eyes can’t help but be drawn to our board. People stop and ask questions. Other people jump in to answer. Conversations are started, connections are made. Our motley little wall has become so much more.
To make it easier (or harder, depending on how you look at it), I added another caveat: all submissions had to be created from or incorporate a Post-it note.
This additional condition added a twist to our game, while simultaneously evening the playing field. By stipulating the use of sticky notes, we ensured that a) 30 days of submissions would fit on our board and that b) all submissions could be easily created from common office materials—meaning no excuses!
The Post-It rule has worked out well. The physical work of producing itsy-bitsy creations has been fun, while the exercise of “thinking in miniature” has been a uniquely challenging one. Plus, in a digital company, we’ve finally managed to find a use for all those office sticky notes, so it’s been a win-win!
The More You Use, The More You Have
Overall, creating for oneself, creating for just for the sake of creating, without the need for perfection, has been something incredible. It’s freeing. And it’s something that, unfortunately, most professional creatives don’t get the chance to do in the workplace.
But our Creative Sprint isn’t just about us. I’m out to prove a point. That point is that creativity isn’t some mystical talent reserved for a certain subset of the population—it’s a skill that can be practiced, a habit that can be established. Most importantly, the point is that creativity is not a skill; it’s a perspective. And by changing your perspective, you can accomplish anything.
Creative Director, Brand
Small Business Bank Capital One