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TEAM & PROJECT INNOVATION

Putting the right people and processes in place to bring ideas from concept to reality.

Building Your Team

At an agency, creativity can come to feel like second nature. There’s often no shortage of creative ideas, but generating true, actionable solutions can take a team effort. And creative solutions tend to happen when teams are formed with diverse backgrounds that bring unique perspectives to the assignment. One way to facilitate this is to look outside of your client’s immediate industry and bring in perspectives from other disciplines. If your office has teams dedicated by client, mix things up and throw a high-fashion team on a pharma client. You might be surprised at what a fresh mind and a lack of understanding about client sensitivities can bring to the table.

Expanding Your Internal Group

Bringing a technologist into the fold early can be critical to creating an actionable solution. While they might not be billed as “creative”, they spend their days finding creative solutions to tech problems. This makes them a powerful asset during the ideation phase. It’s also the job of the technologist to assess feasibility. When innovating, you’re often doing something that has never been attempted or are bringing a new twist to a product or process. And something you bring to the table leaves your technologist stumped, you shouldn’t take “no” for an answer. We should strive to push beyond and exhaust all avenues of feasibility. If no one on your team knows how to make an idea a reality, reach out to other offices or partners that are recognized for their particular expertise.

Looking Outside Your Walls

If you have access to vendors such as Facebook or Google, invite them in early on in the briefing process – you might learn about a soon-to-be-released technology that’s perfect for the assignment. Going a step further, if you have connections in what seem to be radically different fields (product development or event planning, for example), bounce ideas off of them or invite them to a brainstorm. You might make some surprising connections that expand your team’s thinking.

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Testing Ideas

The easiest way to see if a new bucket works it to pour water into it. When pushing for innovation, a series of checkpoints or proofs of concept is a necessity to keep ideas moving forward and properly shape them along the way. When individuals are living in beta and pushing their personal skillsets, you can build teams of makers or tinkerers who can individually recognize if an idea has any legs or build a simple prototype to test it.

Prototyping is a critical step when pushing for innovation. If your team is attempting something larger in scale, this can take a bit of time. With smaller projects, a prototype can be cranked out in a few hours. Having a rough working example will help solve lots of the problems or questions you may have. While many ideas sound great in theory, until you can click, tap, or play with it, it’s hard to know if it’s a truly workable solution.

5 Prototyping Platforms

  1. Twitter Bootstrap |  A responsive HTML 5 framework for building websites, Bootstrap lets you easily mock up designs and interactions to throw in front of coworkers or consumers to validate hierarchy, flow, or usability. http://twitter.github.com/bootstrap/
  2. jQuery Mobile | This mobile application framework built in HTML lets you easily build applications that are similar to a native smartphone app. With many built-in styles for buttons, lists, and navigation elements, your apps can utilize common smartphone touch events and transitions. http://jquerymobile.com/
  3. Processing | A java-based application environment, Processing allows those with basic development knowledge to quickly create computer applications. With a large user community and library network, it’s easy to create applications that do everything from tap into twitter to native android apps that can access GPS and accelerometer data. http://processing.org/
  4. Arduino | Arduino is the cousin to Processing and is used to create physical prototypes. Users can easily connect sensors such as motion, distance or temperature to trigger events within your computer application. http://www.arduino.cc/
  5. Raspberry Pi | Literally a computer the size of a credit card, Raspberry Pi is useful for physical prototypes that require more mobility. It can also connect with external sensors to build various products or interactive product displays. http://www.raspberrypi.org/

In our next part we’ll look at overcoming hurdles to innovation as an organization. If you can’t wait, download the entire whitepaper here.

Download Overcoming Hurdles to Innovation

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