Our Top Takeaways from Creative Works 2016

Our Top Takeaways from Creative Works 2016


Last week, three of us from the Creative team had the opportunity to attend the Creative Works Conference here in Memphis to get inspired and tap into the creative process of other pros. We heard from and interacted with creatives from Facebook, Nike Jordan shoes, Reach Records, Kid President, and more who are making waves with their brands. 

We were reminded why we create and how to create even on days when the creative tank doesn't quite feel full. We were motivated to go beyond our typical limits, to push the envelope and transcend the comfort zone. We were wowed, moved and inspired by presentations that showed how people are using creativity to build better lives and solve problems with their work. 

We want to always be among those—solving problems and building better lives as a result of our creativity.  

The list of takeaways is lengthy, but here are a few key points that stood out to each of us: 

1. Creating and analyzing don’t need to occur at the same time 

Too often we as creatives get caught up in the vicious process of creating and analyzing at the same time. We don’t split the two into separate processes. Personally, I begin creating something and within minutes I’m analyzing my work and not allowing the creativity to guide my efforts. Rather, my analytical and questioning mind starts to take over. 

This is a vicious cycle because creating and analyzing are completely different processes. They require different actions in the brain, and we often inhibit creativity when we begin analyzing too early. This can keep some of the most innovative projects from being shared with the public, or even finished.

Creativity is all about trying. And when we analyze too early, we stop ourselves from trying and testing. Again, a fatal blow to creativity.

2. Using creativity & design to solve real world problems 

It's easy for each of us to put our heads down and churn out project after project, but in doing so we can forget to take the time to be creative. It's like any profession - we can get too caught up in the grind and miss real opportunities to make waves and solve problems.

For example, a designer at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital spoke about how his team is able to use creativity, design and media to solve real world problems for sick children. In one case, they used 360-degree cameras to create immersive experiences for kids to see and feel within the hospital. Since the patients can't go to the far-reaching corners of the globe while they're undergoing treatment, the team took them there virtually. It was brilliant. 

This was eye-opening for each of us who attended. It was the reminder we needed. Our design and creativity can solve problems for people in our world. Whether it's from a small mom-and-pop shop or a massive organization like St. Jude, what we create can have a large impact, and we need to keep that in the front of our minds. 

Design with purpose. Design on purpose.

3. Finding the sweet spot between magic and comfort 

Remember using venn diagrams in grade school? Well imagine a venn diagram with two circles converging. One circle is the magic of creativity. The other circle is our comfort zone. When these two collide, it’s brilliant. If we can get to the point where magic meets comfort, then we’ve won as creatives. Our comfort zone needs to intersect with the magic of creativity. 

All too often we rest in the comfort zone. Maybe at one time we pushed ourselves and created something magical, but then we got comfortable and never reached for the magic again. We should always be reaching for the magic in creativity. We should always be trying. 

Our comfort should never be based on what is easy and what we’ve always done. Our comfort must intersect with the magic of trying and creating, even if we’re unsure of the result. 

We enjoyed this simple quote from Brad Montague of Kid President:


4. Surround yourself with people who fill up your creativity tank

Creativity shouldn't be in isolation. We need people to push our creativity and to challenge it. We need people who understand what it means to create and the struggle it can be. We need people who add energy to our projects and to our creative efforts. 

Creativity can't thrive if it isn't fostered, which is why we need to be surrounded by at least a few people who welcome our creative efforts. 

This is one of the benefits of being on a team of creatives. We're surrounded by creatives who not only know how to create, but also how to be creative in unique ways. The brilliance of creativity is that we don't create the same way. We each create in a different fashion. Our brains go through different processes and we each see the world in different ways. So, having a close-knit, interactive creative team diversifies our thinking and our creative abilities.   

Applying Our Takeaways: 

It's one thing to ponder the takeaways. It's another to apply them. As a team, we're committed to applying these takeaways to our projects here at Speak. In particular, applying them to our creative projects, such as web design, video production and digital marketing. Maybe you have a problem in your business that needs solving. Maybe your organization needs to capture more of your audience. Whatever your problem is, we want to solve it with creative solutions backed with strategy. 

Ready to apply creativity to your problem? Let's get started. 

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