Over years I have been inspired by various people and their ways of working. Attended workshops and heard people share their experiences. I picked up various tools, methods and ways of working in a collaborative environment. Here are my favourites.
Tools to build an effective team, a culture to innovate and experiment
Before the process comes the team who makes all this possible. The Team. Some say Team is Everything. I am one of those. The culture to experiment, speak your mind, relate to each other is what puts everything together. Constructive feedback tools, team building activities, checking in and out with your feelings when you start or end your day and some funny energizers help you feel like a close group of people working together. You spend most of your life with people you work and I believe you should have fun while doing all of this.
The first thing after receiving a brief is to de-brief it. Ask the client questions about the brief, understand the requirements and develop a creative brief for yourself to work around.
Brand Map & the Golden Circle
When working with a brand I have not worked on before I usually create a brand map or pick it up from the brand guidelines if the brand has one. It helps me understand the position of the brand and what it stands for.
The Golden Circle – This one is my absolute favourite. Inspired by a TED talk of Simon Sinek . I totally agree with the speaker and have ever since been doing it myself for my projects. It is so important to justify what you are doing and why you are doing it.
Research – online, on ground and focus group
Its not my fav thing to do but some background check on what the brand and it’s competition has been doing. Gathering a focus group to get real insights is totally worth buying them a coffee or giving them a candy. It’s these interviews that get you the real insights sometimes. The focus group is also used through out the project as check points.
So by now we have a lot of information to work with. It is time to get creative. Some say the first idea is the best, some say follow your instinct, some keep waiting for the best idea to come. What i really like is collaborative ideation tools. Post -its are the backbone of this phase. Other than getting your thoughts on paper they also help decorate your work place to look like a mad house. Why i like collaborative tools is – they take less time than you sitting and starring out of the window the whole day. You can develop on someone’s idea. Someone can develop yours. I have seen it works wonders sometimes and you have 10 brilliant ideas in 20 mins. Just empty your brain out there. Specially on tight deadlines these tools are to kill for. My favourite is the 5 meter table where you go around the table writing ideas and change position every minute and build on whatever the person before you on that position wrote. The Magical table. There are others like random word association, mapping, picture to word associaltion, negative ideation is another of my favourites but it’s a tricky one. It gives some great ideas at times. So by now you can hardly see the wall and the bin is full. Thanks to the post-its.
So how do you choose the best idea? Woohooo thats a tough one. Well arranging the post-its in a grid and testing them against the selection matrix helps. These tools don’t necessary work always but yes in most of the cases they bring structure and efficiency.
Rapid Prototyping and Testing
So here comes the fun part. Making prototypes of your 2 or 3 favourite ideas and going out on the street and testing them, or testing them on colleagues in the next cubicle or in the company on the next floor.Quick simple cardboard, paper prototypes are enough to guide you to the idea you should go ahead with. The 8:80 rule comes handy here. It says that the first 8 people you ask or interact with give you answers for 80% of the target audience. You can then go further to as many people you want to get what the rest 20% think depending on the time you have for this phase.
Moodboards, sketches, wire framing, design & development
Taking all the feedback from testing and prototyping you choose the most suitable idea and start sketching, wire framing, making a mood board(again good for decoration of your workspace and getting into the visual world of the brand and target audience) and producing the designs. Sketching is an absolute necessary for me as i have been drawing all my life.
Case Studies & Presentations
So after working your ass off on everything it’s time to present it to the one who is going to pay for it – The Almighty client Well case studies and mood films are a good way to set up the story. Here all the footage of the process, focus group interviews etc are very helpful to make the client believe in your idea. It helps you sell it well. Story telling is an important aspect of presentations. Usually i try to get in some sort of story telling into the presenations. Everyone loves stories.