We often get asked by folks we work with about the technologies and tips we use to inspire creative thinking at Emdash. After all, a great team is built on more than good vibes.

Here are a few of the ways that we try to support a high-performing creative team in our daily work.

1. Making time for innovation and learning

Google made headlines for its “20% time” policy a few years ago, where its employees were encouraged to devote a share of their time to passion projects and innovations. This principle is a healthy one when you are looking to break out from the standard toolbox of campaign tactics you frequently use.

Every month we will hold digital learning “show-and-tell” sessions where our team can bring new ideas to the table. Sometimes we will prototype their idea through a mini hackathon and find ways to integrate it into our future work.

In every project, we also try to budget for a healthy amount of research time that team members can use to explore and be inspired by what is resonating most with audiences.

2. Cutting out cutting and pasting

In fast-paced roles such as communications and marketing, it can be tempting to repurpose and repackage existing content. 

We’ve all read Frankenstein sentences where the writer has stitched together new key terms with old sentences. Or we’ve seen designed pieces that seem tragically detached from the organization’s brand voice. The result can be awkward. The content can be halting or confusing, and doesn’t say much of anything.

We encourage our creative team to avoid the dark side of Command+V by making time to write and design thoughtfully and purposefully.

3. Bringing transparency to team bandwidth

With the flow of creative production work, there will be weeks where some team members are busier than others. 

Every Monday and Wednesday we get together for our all-hands Standup meeting. These sessions take 15-30 minutes, which is enough time for everyone to share what they’re working on over the next few days. When we make space for our team like this, they are able to share their priorities, ideas and concerns.

Through this act of breaking down silos, we can see pretty quickly who might need an extra set of hands to move a priority forward. We can also identify when folks have bandwidth to work on items from our parking lot of ideas and projects that we have for a rainy day.

4. Not being afraid to geek out

Loving your work means being excited about things that the average person might not quite understand. That ad that went viral over the weekend that made you cry-laugh? That strange new app that seems to be catching fire? We tell our team right from day one: Don’t hog the good stuff!

But the best kind of nerd is a proud nerd. That’s why we have an entire internal Slack channel focused on ideas and innovations. This special place is a weird and delightful mix of brand successes (and failures), bold best practices, and trends to watch out for.

In recent years, we’ve gone one step further by sharing some of our favourite items with our friends through our monthly newsletter called Exclamation. If you want to see what that looks like, you can sign-up for free.

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