What can the business world tell us about how to be better at being creative?
Thanks to technology, ‘Agile’ thinking is catching on, from manufacturers and software developers to creatives, marketers and performers.
Fail fast and build ugly might not sound inspiring terms but these business insights, common to the types of business focused on building products, are changing the way creative people do their jobs. Google, as always, is in on it and is about to launch Agile Creativity; a site that ‘will help you implement agility in your agency processes’.
Now we have the technology for instant feedback, it would be mad not to adapt a new launch to consumer reaction. This doesn’t just have to mean pulling a long anticipated campaign if it falls short of expectation or ramping up a project that has seen success. Technology, in all its monitoring, analysing and digitalising glory, has made itself indispensable to the creative process and is crucial to the design stage of any competitive business project.
Think With Google has recently explored the move to Agile Creativity. Their article states:
The core idea, as described in Eric Ries’ book, The Lean Startup, is to set aside the traditional model – where a product is launched fully functional, backed by extensive market research – and adopt principles from lean manufacturing and agile software development.
Ries calls the result a ‘minimum viable product;’ an early, low-cost, and functional version of the idea that allows rapid market entry and evolution of concept. It’s a model that can also help marketers develop campaigns in the digital age. The pace of change in consumer dynamics and technology demands that every aspect of communications becomes more flexible, integrated, and efficient. Call it ‘agile creativity.’
In their trailer (above) Google picks the brains of leading CEOs, with Greg Anderson from BBH New York stating “It’s a time when the fast are going to beat up on the slow.”
Whether you are making a prototype, launching a campaign or unveiling a service, the new winning formula is to build it swiftly – or ugly and basic – to get it out in front of consumers and learn from what they tell you about it. If it’s a failure, fail fast, pick up the pieces and move on.
Out go lengthy market studies in favour of nimble online research and consumer opinion collecting. Say goodbye to meeting after focus group after brainstorm after meeting: a small group of thinkers is best for a clear, concise project.
This is where the Minimum Viable Brief steps in. Document your idea and its objective but don’t overdo it. Think With Google states:
This dynamic document covers only as much as it needs to, offering a skeleton framework of insight and inspiration.
An MVB keeps the clarity and success criteria of a traditional brief but focuses on getting something out there rather than getting it absolutely right first time. The real change in working practice comes with the ability to adapt as you work. Analysing web traffic, sales and monitoring social media conversation become part of the development stage.
Think With Google continues:
Indeed, agile creativity allows for a change in strategy even after launch. Ask yourself: Who is actually listening? Do our insights match reality? What is gaining traction? Did we define success correctly? Were we too ambitious – or not ambitious enough? The next step is to zero in on what’s working and pursue bigger bets based on what was successful. Adapt and respond. Play to your strengths.
Advertising and digital agency Deutsch Inc. is a great example of capitalising on the immediacy of agile thinking. They “built the first iteration of our new site live on the web in just 30 days, in order to prove to ourselves and our clients that building for the web in a more agile manner is ultimately better.”