Tips From a Creative Director: What Innovation Can Teach Us About Working in a Creative

By Vincent Kao, NEXT.0 Senior Creative Director

 
The key to a team’s efficiency is seamless communication

The key to a team’s efficiency is seamless communication

When I first started working in advertising, I noticed just how busy everyone was. Someone would be rushing to get to a meeting, hurrying to a film shoot, or frantically finding props for a set. In an ad agency, there seems to be an endless amount of work and never enough people around to complete it. ​

 

Because of this lack of resources, I had to wear many hats as a junior. Often the Creative Director would give me a simple brief just  before putting me on projects that I was not qualified to do. I remember once I was tasked with directing  a commercial. The people on set were nervous and apprehensive about my inexperience, and rightly so.  At the end of the day, I had to give the Creative Director Polaroid photos of the shoot and he was not impressed or happy with the updates. A lot of things were missing or wrong due to the lack of communication. ​

Being a Creative Director myself now, I see just how important communication is within an agency -- things get complex quickly and it’s important not to miss any crucial details. Tasks need to be communicated efficiently, seamlessly, and constantly. ​

Creativity thrives on innovation

Even after 20 years, it seems like some things in advertising have remained unchanged. When we lack the resources, we still end up giving larger scopes of work to the same group of people. However, we are now equipped with better ways to solve this issue. 

 

Recently, our agency added a new device from Google to our conference room. Jamboard works  like a 55-inch tablet that allows you to project displays and directly scribble notes on the screen. These two features alone, along with its stylish design, were enough to persuade me to replace the common whiteboard and TV in the meeting room. The more I used Jamboard, the more I began to discover cool features that made work more convenient and fun. ​

Jamboard allows creatives to efficiently communicate across time and space

As a tradition, creative veterans in an agency often like to pick on juniors and throw them in the deep-end. Recently, we let a new Account Executive (AE) handle a TV commercial shoot where he needed to be on set and we needed to be in the office. We were all apprehensive about whether or not the AE will succeed or mess up, so we advised him to download the Jamboard App (download Jamboard App now for Android and iOS on a phone or tablet to start real-time collaboration.) With the app, he’s able to keep us updated on the shoot in real time and with concise details.

As soon as the  AE got to the shoot, he was overwhelmed and immediately created a Google Hangouts session and shared the Jam session (download Jamboard App now for Android and iOS on a phone or tablet to start real-time collaboration.) As a result, we communicated altogether via Jamboard. He shared with us the four different outfits the stylist had in mind and the photos immediately appeared on the digital whiteboard in our conference room. The Art Director was able to immediately discuss the options with the copywriter. After selecting the best photo, they were able to collaborate on-screen by enlarging the image, rotating it, and adding a frame. They were even able to draw and write directly on the screen.

As the Art Director looked at the layout on Jamboard, he still felt that the artwork was missing something. Through Jamboard’s built-in Internet and Gallery Search function, he was able to add the client’s logo and products on the screen. With the video function, the Art Director (AD) was able to direct the model and production crew with great detail, almost as if he was there on the set. The final approval had to come from the ECD who was on vacation. He logged into the Jamboard App and with a coconut juice in one hand, and his phone in the other, he replied with, “Ok, approved.”

A smarter approach to creative work

Some methods may never go out of style, but it doesn’t mean we become stagnate in our creative approach. Jamboard has dramatically changed the way we work. Working with Jamboard feels futuristic, like we’re on a set of a George Lucas’ sci-fi movie. 

 

Jamboard is now an essential part of our work and we wonder how we ever managed without it. It’s almost like if I had to go back to using a flip-phone phone after years of using a smartphone. Sure it’s nostalgic, but I would rather embrace innovation if it means that work can be done more efficiently and with ease.