For process sake?! - Creative freedom vs ridged process
In creative terms, the idea of 'process' is nothing new. One’s creative process is something that has been crafted over many years, honed and skilled - it is the bible of which we can perform. Pah! It's an internal tick list that we've all stumbled upon through many years of cock-ups, is what it is.
And isn’t that the point? Your process should be YOURS?? Something that you’ve crafted over time, the more that you’ve learned about yourself?
Years of agency, in-house, and charity life has exposed us to many different ways of working. All the trends, the waterfalls, the agile scrums, the account handlers, the stand ups and sit downs and ‘have you got 2 mins’ chats - has left us with a grasp on what does, and what definitely doesn’t work for us (and a little bit dizzy)
There definitely does seem to be a fashion for ridged process now. And everyone is expected to perform at their optimum by living within the constraints of it. But isn’t that a little counter creative? Isn’t the point of a good team, that everyone is different and that they bring something new to the table? How can we all be ourselves, exploring the outer reaches of what we’re capable of, whilst living within the constraints of someone else's process?
Now that we’re lucky enough to work for ourselves, we have been set free from these containers, and we can take forward what works and what doesn’t.
Here’s a few ‘what doesn’t work’ for us:
Half day, or even day-long meetings - Nah, that's just not how our brain works. Sat, talking through ideas in a stuffy meeting room for hours on end. After about an hour, I think you’ve lost us. We’re planning what's for tea and wondering what box set to try next on Netflix.
Meetings for meeting's sake - Sometimes you need a full team meeting, so everyone knows what is going on and feels included, but sometimes we just don’t need to be there! Often a quick 5-minute chat sat at someone's desk is more than enough! And if they bring you tea, even better.
Sticking to project time frames, just because - Something that you originally thought might be a real challenge and might take a week, can be done in a day, yet you’re not doing a showcase until the end of a week. So we’re stuck, not wanting to move on, in case there are changes to what you’ve just designed...and so we just sit twiddling our thumbs.
These things all get in the way of progress and they aren’t intuitive to how you work. We seem to have gotten a little stuck. We’re scared of breaking these rules - of maybe accepting that a project doesn't always have to be a long fought out process in a meeting room. A project exists in the time, space trust that you give your team. Make sure all of the right conversations happen, guide someone if they seem to be lost, catch those who might be headed down the right path and just always keep asking the right questions and actually listen to the answers.
We’ve learned that an open and inclusive process from the off, not only with the team but our clients too, means that everyone can bring to the table what works for them and as a team, you can move forward in a way that (hopefully) makes everyone happier.
Maybe larger companies need to look at what the smaller businesses are doing. They’re able to explore and give their staff the freedom to work in a way that big companies feel unable. What can we learn from them? Have you ever been asked how you’d like to work? How you perform best? Has anyone ever considered how your process might work within theirs?