Four ways to ensure your production processes don’t kill creativity

By Linda Zid, product marketing manager, OpenText Hightail

For creative professionals, the battle between the demands to do more and having fewer resources to do so continues to rage on. In a recent survey conducted by Digiday and OpenText Hightail, 88 percent of marketer, agency and publisher respondents said that demands for creative assets have increased within the past year. Meanwhile, a whopping 82 percent said they have somewhat fewer resources than necessary to meet those demands.

And cumbersome creative processes aren’t helping, with 81 percent saying the quality of their creative work suffers because of issues like too many rounds of creative review, too many people involved in getting projects across the finish line, too many projects going on simultaneously and ineffective or insufficient use of creative collaboration tools.

Here are four ways to help ensure your creativity doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.

Put yourself in the shoes of someone interacting with your content
Organizations create “user personas” for a reason. They help you get inside the mind of a user to ensure that you’re communicating with them in a way that will resonate. Creative content can also benefit from this process.

Whether it’s an infographic, an advertisement or even a white paper, it has to provide something your target persona can actually use — and thinking from their perspective can help you provide that. Ask yourself questions like: What problem will you solve for them with this content? How have they typically solved it in the past? You can also try approaches like “reverse brainstorming,” which forces you to take a different perspective by thinking about how to cause that problem in order to be more creative in solving it.

Don’t confine yourself to one path
It might sound counterintuitive to start your work on a project in more than one way, but you might be surprised. Take a few minutes to brainstorm the best ways to approach the subject of your project. Try to come up with at least five to ten ideas. Then pick your top two and think about how you would approach them. If you can’t pick an absolute favorite, start working on both — and a clear winner will eventually emerge.

However, don’t feel like the effort you put into the other version is wasted. There is no such thing as a dumb idea when it comes to creative content and even a failed approach can provide insights and ideas for future projects — even if it wasn’t the right fit for this one.

Don’t overthink it
As author Ray Bradbury once said, “Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity.” If it’s a writing project, just start writing. If it’s an infographic, just start mocking it up. There’s a reason why the term “unleash creativity” exists. We often hold back our creative thoughts, because we don’t think they will be good enough or we think that they will be too difficult to execute. Release those thoughts and get them on paper,your computer or whatever medium you are working with.

Remember when you were a kid, and you said or did things because you didn’t know what the consequences might be? Try to think of things from that “kid perspective.”

Find ways to collaborate better
Meeting even for a few minutes regularly can be a great way for people to share what they’re working on and get ideas and insights from others. Foster the feeling that there is no such thing as a dumb idea to ensure everyone is comfortable weighing in with their thoughts before self-censorship kicks in. Also, uncover interests or hidden creativity that can help with future projects by starting a meeting with a fun, non-work-related question like: What’s your favorite movie and why?

For more about the survey and how to address some of the production processes that are hindering creativity, read our article on “The key mistakes you may be overlooking in your creative production process.”

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