Optimising a creative space for productive ideation
By Managing Creative Director, David Guy
Being creative is the lifeblood that flows through an agency’s veins. Pushing bravery, collaborating with great clients when doing so and delivering commercial impact results in happy clients and agency growth. So how can we keep pushing our creative potential? I think the creative space itself is a key part in getting that right.
At the end of another year of rapid agency growth (45% to be exact) and adding more staff to a team of 16 ‘Guys’, our space at our Edinburgh HQ was getting maxed out. So, when we got the option to take another floor at our city centre address, we jumped at it. More space than we need right now but it gave me the opportunity to put in something I’ve also wanted in an agency (apart from a bar) – a massive creative workshop, where we can create, collaborate and polish ideas to our hearts’ content.
Here’s the five key points we pushed ourselves on, when workshopping The Workshop:
- Start with a clear proposition for the space
The Workshop was imagined as a collaborative place to think up, build and tinker with great new ideas for our clients and agency teams alike.
Our moodboards centred on industrial chic – heavy, robust materials and modular in layout to enable us to flexibly adapt to different project and presentation style demands.
- Positively change the way clients and agency staff interact and behave
We didn’t include a big table where senior egos can lay claim to the head of that table. Instead we planned a mix of vertical standing and sitting options with super comfy giant bean bags to bring a high degree of comfort when thinking of new creative solutions. We did that just to see C-suite people get in and out of bean bags – a great leveller and perfect to get that playful mindset kicked into gear…
- Put creative tools in the way of people
Yes, there are pens, pads and creative stimulus always out, but we push that further by having the space dominated by probably the biggest whiteboard in Scotland, where creative souls can mind-map their plans to a grand scale (and then start again with the wipe of a cloth). And once the ideas move down the development pipeline, we have industrial sheets of steel on the walls, covered in magnets to pin and move ideas around to get to an optimal solution.
These are creative tools you can’t ignore when in The Workshop, which provide a catalyst for us and our clients to get the neurons firing and creative cracking.
- Set the mood – calm or frenetic?
We ripped out all the corporate office lights and installed industrial chic spot and wall lights with a warm hue – we believe that softer, darker lighting elicits a feeling of freedom, self-determination and reduced inhibition.
And to counter this calmness we mounted a chaotic and pace-inducing massive countdown clock – we find when facilitating groups that short 15-, 30- and 45-minute sprints can bring the focus and energy we need to make the ideas factory hum with productive creativity.
- Make Pavlov proud
The Workshop has places with hidden rewards: a Smeg fridge full of delicious Innis & Gunn beer (other soft drink alternatives are available) and a cupboard stacked with agency-favourite Dark Chocolate Gingers by Border Biscuits. Our team know when these open up that we’ve reached a stage when it’s time to reflect and celebrate some of the cool shit we’ve created together – or some sugar to fuel more.
The Workshop is now open to our Clients and agency partners. Want to come and play? Get in touch.
PS. Here’s the bar…