By Vincent Kao, NEXT.0 Senior Creative Director
Brainstorming is not a one-person show
I faced a ton of challenges as a rookie creative director. Some were expected, others caught me completely by surprise, keeping my team motivated was a real challenge. I expected every person to bring a ton of ideas to the table and willingly discuss those ideas inside and out. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. No comments were given, my team was silent which led me to be the only one talking during a brainstorm session.
The explanation for my team’s lack of participation was simple, they weren’t hosting the meeting, and didn’t feel engaged in the creative process.
The answer to my question came from an unlikely source, Mad Men. The advertising world has changed dramatically since the 1960s, but one thing remains the same, creatives still brainstorm using a whiteboard. Why were we coming up with ideas the same way we did 60 years ago? It was time for a change.
Google invents technology to brainstorm better
We found the change we needed with Jamboard. Everyone was excited to see what the digital interactive whiteboard could do, especially me. Jamboard is a cloud-based, collaboration device that helps creative directors brainstorm better by combining the tech of a tablet and projector with the simplicity of a whiteboard.
Group collaboration on a Jamboard is incredibly simple. Up to 16 people can contribute to the same Jamboard session. The Jamboard App works on phones and tablets, while the app syncs automatically to Jamboard. Using the app on a phone or tablet is an active experience, anyone can use their device to scribble notes that instantly appear on the Jamboard. And we can use Google Search to add search results to the Jamboard. Creative lulls during brainstorm sessions are a thing of the past.
CD’s job: give inspiration, get ideas
Recently, my team and I were brainstorming a new business pitch, and we hit a wall. We ran out of ideas, and the room turned painfully silent as everybody racked their brains trying to crack the brief. Luckily, now I have a simple trick up my sleeve to kickstart the creative process. I told my team to open up the Jamboard app on their devices, and write down three adjectives about the product in one minute. Everyone was working on the app on their own device, so no one would be influenced by another person’s thinking. It’s real-time team collaboration. Page after page of idea-starting adjectives popped up on the Jamboard within a minute. Real time collaboration got us out of our creative block and ideas started to flow again.
Some of the ideas needed clarification and refinement, so we used Jamboard’s visual collaboration tools to provide context for our thoughts. An idea might not click without a visual or mood board, so we ran a Google search through Jamboard, and dragged an image onto the brainstorm page. Anyone can add images from their devices through the Jamboard app, which makes brainstorming feel more like a team creative exercise. We generate ideas faster when everyone is engaged and energetic.
With a Jamboard in our conference room, I no longer have to rely on bad jokes to re-engage my team. Interaction is as simple as turning on a phone or tablet. Brainstorming feels like collaborative teamwork and is just more fun than the alternative. Our best ideas are now always born in a fun and interactive environment.