Design firms develop different tactics to maintain “creative excellence” in a business climate that is requiring solutions to be created within a limited time period. The desire for “speed to market” can be detrimental to the creative process. And, firms are experiencing a lot of pressure from clients that are taking large amounts of time upfront in the research stage, leaving the creative team less time for the design stage.
APDF Members shared their experiences and best practices on this topic in a break-out session at the recent APDF Exchange in New York City.
Ways to address this challenge within your firm include:
-Engage a client representative to be more involved throughout the whole process. A successful experience shared by one firm was that on a recent project, the client (a designer by training) actually helped the firm’s design team address a shorter design process by helping the team give up their old project patterns and form new ones. The client was able to give approvals in real-time in order to keep the project moving fast.
-Create new, faster presentation tools outside of standard rendering methods to same time (e.g., motion images to present the concept or using acting to present the solution in front of the client team).
Change the workflow
-Rework the project flow to include design thinking with the client team throughout the research stage so that there is more focus on the best solution during the limited design stage.
-Build new models of research and design solutions. An example (waterfalling): create a design/behavioral research process. After the first consumer group is complete, the design team and client build upon the concepts and then take the new ideas into the next consumer group. This process is repeated over several groups in order to build upon the core concept.
-Build new disruptive processes within your workflow that help generate new break-out ideas.
-Build rooms that are named “magic” for thinking in a disruptive way and another room called “logic” to flush-out ideas. Using two different rooms enforces the two thinking styles and keeps the creative at a high level.
Sabbaticals – one day at a time
-Create forums within the creative process/studio for the team to have mini-sabbaticals to keep the team focused and the creative energy up.
-Plan getaways to re-energize creative thinking. Even if the deadline is tight, give designers time to rest their visual thinking by building in getaways to a place or an activity that helps them envision things differently.
-Create nap or mind-rest rooms within the studio for people to re-energize.
-Create play rooms, or build into the overall studio, places to break-away from day-to-day patterns.
-Build in profile testing (e.g., Birkman Method) for the team to better understand how their mind processes stress or change. This will allow the team to better understand their own “needs” required to stay working at a high level.
What are ways you maintain creative excellence in your firm? Share your ideas!
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