3 strategies for producing better creative work

In a recent post, I wrote about the stifling effect that total creative freedom can have on your team. This time around, I thought I would offer a few tips on how structure and process can help free the mind to create.

1. Put in the strategic work

It’s tempting to jump to execution. But without solid strategy, you’ll find creative teams heading down rabbit holes or meandering off into unproductive directions. A well crafted strategy defines the parameters, focusing your team and freeing them from the burden of having too many avenues to explore within the time constraints of your project. Build in ample time to devise the strategy.

2. Apply the structure

Sometimes we find that brilliant idea within the first 15 minutes. Sometimes it takes days. As mysterious as the process can seem, there are some ways to help streamline it. We use a process that cycles through quick bursts of concepting (1 hour) followed by the requirement to verbally present the thinking. This short time frame helps avoid the trap of getting stuck. The verbal presentation forces anyone presenting to articulate the relevance and value of an idea. Saying it out loud has a unique way of helping identify holes in the thinking. Plus, it has the uncanny ability to help spark new ideas for the presenter.

3. Allow the muse to work

Many times, we schedule internal creative reviews toward the end of the day. The reason is simple. We want the creative person’s muse to digest the input and work on the challenge. That muse kicks in at the strangest times. Like in that half-conscious/half-dream state right before you fall asleep. Sometimes letting the muse work on the challenge over night delivers brilliant thoughts. Usually at unexpected and occasionally inconvenient times. Remember that great idea you had in the shower or during the mindless drive to work? That was the work of your muse.