One of the first things we say to any potential client is ‘We co-create the brand you want to own. After all, it’s your brand, not ours.’ But as most of you will realise that’s a lot easier said than done. And if you haven’t worked this way before co-creation can sound very confusing, leaving you with questions like ‘how do co-creations really work?’ Or ‘what are the best ways to work together to get the most creative results?’
So we’ve tried to take the mystery out of it. We’ve put together our list of the top 5 tips for creative collaboration which when implemented together can take any project to the next level.
1. Give yourself permission to explore
A key moment in our strategic brand review process comes at the intersection between the strategy stage ‘define’ and the creative stage ‘design’. To help us bridge the gap between these two disciplines we’ve created a co-creation workshop. 15 years in the making this creative session uses multiple tools and exercises to draw out the creativity in any client from architects to eight-year-olds.
But the key to making these sessions work is that we never try to find a solution – the destination is not the aim of the collaboration, instead we are just enjoying being on a journey together, exploring the ideas at the heart of their brand and recording what we find.
2. It’s better to translate than transcribe
Creative collaboration shouldn’t be limited to the traditional ‘creative’ areas of any project. From initial research to final testing any part of the process where you are inviting the opinion is a collaboration.
And that’s the secret, to see every interaction, every input into your project, not as a transaction but as a collaboration. Never to take what you’re given at face value but to probe and push it to understand further to find what the person you’re dealing with really means to say and to interpret what that means for your project.
3. Little and often is more effective than big set pieces
It is important not to forget the little moments of collaboration, those moments of inspiration and exchanges of ideas that happen beyond the workshops and brainstorms.
As they say in the world of high-performance sport, lots of small changes can outperform one big one.
At rbl we work hard to create the right conditions for collaboration from our studio – large open space with everyone together but plenty of room for us all to gather around each other’s screens, to creating dedicated digital channels for creative sharing – ‘this font or the other’ ‘the one on the left or the one on the right’.
Collaboration is a habit and like any other habit, the more you do it the more you want to do it – so create the opportunities and the creativity will come.
4. A change is as good as a rest
A simple one this, but important nonetheless. It’s hard to be creative, it’s even hard to do it in a stable environment without stimulus and energy.
So change things up when you can. This used to mean taking everyone off to the pub for a brainstorm. Currently is just as likely to mean taking yourself out of the study and working at the kitchen table.
In fact, that might be why we call our big breakout table in the studio the ‘kitchen table’ because it’s the heart of our studio where we all come together to change things up and share ideas.
5. Collaboration is never done
There are 7.9 billion people on the planet and each of them is different, in their ideas and perspectives. So, there is always more to learn and different way to look at things.
And there is never any need to fall back on stock solutions or tried and tested ideas.
Talk to people, you never know where it will take you.