Two colleagues celebrating

(Almost) All Creative Processes are Broken – Here’s How to Fix Them

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.

This famous quote attributed to Albert Einstein is known by nearly every person worldwide – and for creatives, it sadly rings true for their day-to-day reality. In InMotionNow’s 2019 In-House Creative Management Report, creative teams reported their top challenges as:

  1. The speed at which they’re expected to complete projects, and
  2. The amount of work they’re being asked to complete.

Despite knowing that these challenges exist, many creative teams continue to operate in the same way, without taking a step back and looking critically at how they could improve their overall operations to address these challenges. Picture a car, for example, with a cracked oil pan, a duct-taped bumper and a makeshift steering wheel. Sure, technically it gets you where you need to go, but while it may be functional, there’s no doubt that your car is due for a repair. The same goes for your creative workflow – just because your current process gets the job done doesn’t mean it’s not broken. So many creative teams today have gotten used to working in the same way, that they don’t realize how unproductive and inefficient their processes truly are – and don’t even have time to think about it.

Makeshift project hand-offs and patchwork systems only put a band-aid on the problem, and at some point, the cracks in these solutions will pry open. This happened to thousands of creative teams in 2020, when organizations were forced to shift to a work-from-home environment. The ad-hoc solutions they put in place to manage creative workflows weren’t able to transfer to a remote team, leaving creatives struggling to meet their deadlines. A strong, scalable creative workflow needs to enable teams to work at 100%, regardless of if any team member is sick, working remotely or on vacation.

The reality is that things won’t be slowing down any time soon. In fact, Content Marketing Institute found that 56% of organizations want to increase spending on content. Now is the time to fix your broken creative process, if you hope to keep your head above water and stay competitive. Here’s how:

1. Identify your gaps

The first step to fixing a broken creative process is to identify where your gaps are – the bottlenecks, inefficient processes and unfit technologies that prevent your team from being as efficient as possible.

A great place to start is by interviewing your own team – they’re knee-deep in the creative process every day and will likely be able to identify where their time is being wasted. Combine this with your own data and tracking, and you should have a good list of areas that can be improved.

2. Explore possible solutions

The next step is to explore your options for solutions to those gaps, prioritize which ones will have the biggest impact and tackle them head-on. Often, this comes down to three options: Process, products or people. Ask yourself: 

  • Do you need to alter existing processes? 
  • Replace or remove technologies that aren’t cutting it anymore? 
  • Add new technologies to improve workflows? 
  • Adjust a few individual roles to free up the team’s bandwidth? 

It’s beneficial to explore all of these options, before deciding on any single one. 

3. Take the path of least resistance

The final step is to select and implement your selected solutions. The critical mistake that creative leaders often make, however, is to just rip-and-replace solutions without taking their team into consideration.

Put simply, consider, care and communicate before moving forward. As soon as you start implementing a ton of new technology and processes, it’s human nature to quickly revert to the old way of doing things. This can leave you in the same position you were in months ago. To have success long term, you need to work with your team’s workflows, not against them – and implement processes and technologies that complement the way they already work. 

Small changes can lead to big gains

Remember that you don’t need to boil the ocean in a single day – small iterations can make huge productivity gains. Start by tackling your largest gaps first and take on the rest over time.

CreativeSPACES™ improves creative workflows

CreativeSPACES is a tool, built specifically for creative teams, that combines the benefits of working from a local server or remote computer with those of the Cloud. With CreativeSPACES, your team can secure and manage their creative files while accelerating the creative process. Learn more.

MediaValet is a leader in cloud-based digital asset management that helps organizations manage, organize and share their digital assets, improving productivity and increasing ROI. See MediaValet in action today.