How to foster creative ideas in a ‘work from home’ world

In the not too distant past, our Creative team sat side-by-side and worked through complex ideas together, bouncing ideas over a coffee or in the stairwell of a local pub. Then the world changed. 

Eight months on and the working week starts and finishes from home. The new normal is, well, normal. Together, they have some advice on maintaining and cultivating creative energy in isolation. 

Maintain & share your creativity arsenal 
Work time into your day for creative research. Find, share and bookmark things that inspire you to do more or feel more. Reading an article from your favourite design magazine is a great place to start the day (we liked this one), but don’t stop there. Share the love amongst the team, one light bulb might spark another, and then another.

We use collaborative tools like Google Slides and Dropbox Paper to share (and revisit) things that have caught our eye. 

Speak regularly about nothing
Zoom calls can be very objective led, and replicating organic moments of ‘creative juice’ can be challenging in a WFH environment. Make time to talk about creative projects freely without a strict format. Ask for personal perspectives before criticism, and let the random tangents happen.  

Showcase your work
Don’t shy away from sharing your screen. Working in isolation can be too much ‘final’ artwork shared and you miss the little moments in the development stages where someone says “that’s cool, but how about this?” All video calls have a presenting feature but it doesn’t just have to be for pitches! Share your creative ideas, process and workings in real-time: not only can it help train your team on skills and best practice, but will naturally foster new streams of thinking.

Speak outside your bubble
Talk to new people in different teams that help you reflect in alternative ways. When working on projects in small teams there is a greater tendency to work in silos. This effect is multiplied hugely when people are also working in isolation. We suggest adopting a ‘plus one’ policy. As part of a client brainstorm session, bring in a plus one from another team to add a different perspective. Brief them properly and encourage their opinion – no wallflowers!

Reach out and be accessible
Being creative in isolation can be harder for some than others and we all hit brick walls from time to time. Having an ‘always-open’ dialogue with your colleagues over Microsoft Teams or even meeting up for a socially-distanced coffee can make the world of difference to your creative brain.

Explore fun
Creativity is fun, make it part of every day. By introducing creative games into company catch-ups and social meet-ups, you are inevitably tapping into the grey matter that we all work with every day. Start a social committee or challenge new people to lead a Friday call, you never know what great ideas might come out of it.

Insights from Chris Kiernan, Simon Baird & Elena Clowes