‘In-house powerhouse’ from Adobe MAX 2017
A replay of my sold out session from Adobe MAX 2017 that looked at how companies want creativity and design like never before, but very few of their internal creative teams have been empowered to take advantage of this demand. In this episode, I share what I have learned leading successful and empowered client-side teams for more than 11 years at Starwood Hotels and Citi.
Common in-house creative problems
- Teams are disrespected and underfunded.
- Agencies are seen as the only thought leaders.
- Companies are afraid of change.
- Teams think nothing is going to change.
- Corporate structures don’t foster creativity.
What do we need to do to empower in-house teams?
Many companies don’t understand creative teams, so we have to have the vision to help them see our value. Your creative team is seen in one of two different ways. You have to position your team to have the most impact, create the most value, and do the best work.
Creativity vs. design
Understand the difference between creativity and design. Creativity is problem solving. Design is the visual expression of that problem solving. Every company sees value of creativity. Few companies see the value of design.
To improve your team’s creativity you have to focus on one REALLY sexy thing… PROCESS. Many creative teams have the raw talent to be successful, but without a process, they can’t capitalize on it. You need internal, external and creative processes.
Internal creative methodology
Internal creative methodology defines how you work and sets the quality level. Your methodology needs to be inclusive of anyone and everyone to be successful. I use Design Thinking, the Trojan Horse of change.
Your external process defines how you are going to work with your clients and partners. Your creative brief, project calendars, design reviews, tech delivery standards, etc.
- Make sure you are get a problem to be solved, not a solutions to be vetted.
- Use Northstar thinking as in-house teams can rarely execute a big idea all at once.
- Creativity is highly debatable. Consumer research isn’t.
- Fight executive led creative direction and the resulting hysteria.
- Failing doesn’t make you a failure. Failure comes from not learning from your failings. If you aren’t prepared to fail, you will never come up with anything original.
Culture can be one of your teams biggest incentives. Culture is what merges a group of independently talented people into a team. Your team needs their own identity inside of the larger company. The problem is that culture is too often created by default instead of by design.
How do you Create culture for your team?
You have to create a set of beliefs that define the way your team needs to think and act. I take 60-75 days to watch the team, their process and challenges. These need to be deep-seeded problems within the teams thinking and actions. Every day you should write down your observations about the team. After a few weeks, start to group observations into themes. Craft those issues into aspiration statements that define the way the team needs to think and act.
How do you get Your beliefs adopted?
Beliefs are a scalable coaching ecosystem. They empower your team to be accountable for creating the change you need. Leadership comes from a lot of little moments that add up to something big. Those little moments happen through coaching.
What else do you need to do?
- Establish rituals.
- Take hiring seriously.
- Give and get candid feedback.
- Empower your people.
- Build a team with an aggressive agency mentality that’s grounded by in-house authority.
- Have patience. Change takes time and determination.
- Get busy making changes or get busy making excuses.
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