It’s been a long 15 years…no seriously that’s how much time I’ve spent working in Creative Operations. And this whole time….it’s been so hard to just google and hope for the best! When I started in this industry it was relatively new, people didn’t really combine the unlikely parrallels of Creative and Operations, and so everything was self taught. That’s why I’m sharing the top ten things I’ve learnt, so hopefully you won’t have to go through the stress of searching the top 8 pages of google to find there is still simply nothing there.
  • Frameworks are essential

Building the foundation for success is the most important thing you can do for your team. You really need to start at the bottom and make sure the frameworks are set properly. This framework is essential as you work upwards and outwards.

  • Everyone is different, but the basics remain the same

Once you have that basic framework set you’ll see that everyone is completely different. What’s great about Creative Teams is that you get a mixture and multitude of personalities. With this comes different ways to approach things, but you have to keep the basics the same. Once you have your framework set, you can give free rein for adaptability around it, but know that everyone is different but the basics remain the same.

  • Everything will go wrong, and that’s fine

And I mean everything. There is no way you can plan for every eventuality (but those you can, do) and so things will go wrong. You need to learn quite early on that this is completely fine though. I used to get quite emotionally attached and therefore quite affected when things didn’t go to plan, but everything will go wrong, and it will never be the end of the world.

  • Everyone has an opinion

And it’s not always useful. I really hate design by committee, but even when you try and protect your team from stakeholders, people will still have an opinion and still feel like they have to tell you what it is. Just because everyone has an opinion, doesn’t mean every opinion has to be acted on. Take time to build safe spaces and good input points for people to voice what they think, and build time into your processes for experts to give constructive feedback in a constructive manner.

  • Your team has to fail

And this is bigger than things just going wrong. Your team has to fail, and I mean completely fail. Working in Creative a lot of your product will be external, and there will be lots of comments. You need to have thick skin. You also need to learn that failing is fine, failing is actually more than fine. The more you fail, the more you learn about what actually works. So make your team fail, make them get over it quickly, and make them learn that failure brings more opportunities for success than winning ever can.

  • Picking the right tools is important

We’re going to talk about this next week as well because it’s so important, but you have to make sure you’re picking the right tools. And this takes time, this takes auditing and understanding of what’s right for your team and your business.

  • Clarity and trust is the key to good design and content

Being clear in what you want in your brief, and then trusting the team to deliver….this makes the best outcome. End of.

  • You have to be fixed, but agile

Creative Operations is a fine line between enough structure and process for people to make good choices, understand what comes next and produce great work, but enough flexibility and agility to react to moments, big events, and last-minute changes. When building out your frameworks you need to make sure you’re both fixed enough for people to succeed but also agile in your approach. Sound impossible? Don’t worry we’ll show you how.

  • Collaboration is about education and exchange of knowledge

Collaboration isn’t just about working together on the same things at the same time. It’s about exchanging knowledge and educating others on timelines, workloads, the actual process of execution, the design thinking behind decisions and how conclusions have been met.

  • There will be resistance, but you have to work through and win hearts and minds first

No one likes change, everyone knows that. And in 99% of organisations, processes are seen as scary and restrictive. You will get resistance, especially at the beginning of taking over a new team or instilling new processes. But keep going, it’s all just growing pains and the end result is always worth it.