Listen to All Ideas
Sharing your ideas can be hard. It’s that familiar, horrible feeling of sitting in a meeting surrounded by your peers and boss, expressing an idea you’re excited about only to be told, “That’s not the right direction” or “It’s not a great idea.”
Having your ideas shot down is a surefire way to make you more reluctant to share any ideas in the future. This all-too-common scenario sets the stage for a bad creative environment where no one wins — you feel anxious, vulnerable, and hesitant to engage, and the business misses out on hearing potentially great ideas and solutions.
Collaboration Over Competition
Unfortunately, most of us are well-accustomed to competing to think up THE idea, solution, or strategy. And inevitably, this practice leads to more friction, scarcity, and stress, stifling creativity rather than encouraging it.
So, how do you foster a more creative environment?!
To get the best ideas and creative solutions, embed empathy into your project process — from the initial brainstorming phase to the final deliverable. Bouncing ideas around without judgment and reciprocating with understanding, curiosity, and openness is key to finding the best-fit solution. This is empathy at work!
An environment where all ideas are heard, considered, and listened to, will generate even more ideas, better outcomes, less animosity, and happier clients. Good ideas can lead to great ideas. And even the ‘wild’ or ‘out-there’ ideas could spark another, leading to THE idea or something that pushes the boundaries and differentiates you from competitors.
Ted Lasso says it best, “Don’t bring an umbrella to a brainstorm.” If you haven’t seen the show, (though we highly recommend it!) you understand the sentiment. Let all ideas rain down. Because even if some ideas honestly seem pretty bad, discovering and understanding the underlying reasoning behind the idea can reveal the root problem, allowing you to see other possible solutions.
How We Encourage a Creative Environment
We use empathy as a guidepost in our work, in building partnerships with clients, and in communicating with each other. For instance, in developing a brand or marketing campaign, we use empathy to define the audience — to better understand their world, needs, values, and challenges. This way, we can create a connection with the target audience and help show how our clients fill the audience’s needs.
To create strong relationships with clients, we forego rigid processes and approaches to meet marketing goals. Instead, we foster a collaborative experience uniquely tailored to each client, ensuring an experience they want to come back to. This means being open to their ideas, staying curious, hearing their concerns, and collaborating to create an amazing, memorable brand and great marketing. It’s one of our core values at BTD: Receptive. We want our clients to feel comfortable to share and speak up about what they need or any issues they have so we can deliver exactly what they envisioned!
Listening to Ideas Inside Your Team
Take advantage of all the talent already at your fingertips! If you only use a top-down approach to design, you’re limiting yourself, your business, and possibilities for clients. Encourage ‘junior’ employees to share ideas and give input. New and different perspectives bring different ideas and innovative solutions. Something your clients will appreciate.
Listening to Client Ideas
Our clients know the most about their business and what their goals are. When we listen and are open to our client’s ideas and suggestions, we start to build trust and openness. We’re able to see a different perspective and try out different solutions to create results. With open lines of communication, everyone can feel comfortable sharing thoughts, insights, and feedback. In the end, it’s all about meeting the client’s business goals, and the less back and forth, confusion, or frustration along the way is a win for all.
Remember! For a Creative Environment…
… stay curious and use empathy! Everybody has creative ideas. While someone may not be creative in the traditional artsy sense, they may be creative when it comes to solving technical problems or when it comes to creating strategy. Listening to all ideas allows you to hear different perspectives and possible solutions, fostering a creative environment where you can build off one another to find THE idea!