Agencies are expected to be the hotbed of brilliant ideas and constant innovation, but when resources are strained, time is short and there's an ever-increasing amount of client deliverables to get out the door it's easy to let the focus on brilliance and innovation slip. Keep the light shining by incorporating an ideation deliverable into the culture of the agency.
Get Everyone Involved
Too often only the Creative Dept. is expected to generate good ideas day after day. The truth is, EVERYONE at the agency has the capacity to think creatively, strategically and productively - they'll all just approach it from different perspectives. Harness that power by making idea generation an expectation of working at the agency.
One way to do so is to have a weekly meeting where everyone shares their one idea for the week. It could be an idea for an existing client, an idea for a prospective client, an idea for the agency itself, etc. You'll be surprised at the breadth of ideas that come out of the most unlikely people. It's a great way of affirming the importance of ideation and creativity as cornerstones of the agency's culture and has the additional benefit of helping everyone realize that they're part of one big agency team all working towards a common goal.
Executing this exercise successfully requires some planning and resources. If you have a weekly Ideation Deliverable for everyone, you wind up with a LOT of ideas every week (depending on the size of your agency). You need a way to capture those ideas, sort them into appropriate categories and take action on the best ones. Not doing so can have a negative effect on everyone involved as what used to be considered a great cultural requirement quickly erodes into a pointless exercise that adds more work to everyone's plate.
Ways of managing this include:
- Have everyone record their ideas on a shared document or spreadsheet that enables them to sort their own idea into the appropriate category (client, new business, agency, etc.)
- Place the ideas on a wall or in a presentation prior to the meeting and make the purpose of the meeting a quick recap or explanation of the idea - think of it like pitching the idea to the agency
- Make sure to set a time limit for everyone's pitch so you don't wind up in an all-day meeting
- Ideas can be voted on or simply appreciated by everyone
If the volume of ideas becomes unmanageable, try decreasing the frequency of the ideation meetings to every two weeks or potentially once a month. The more time everyone has to generate ideas, the higher the expectation should be around the quality of those ideas - which can be a good thing or can turn into a source of anxiety depending on how the employee looks at it. The question comes down to how much of an emphasis you want to place on ideation in your agency.
One thing is for sure - there are far worse problems to have at an agency than too many ideas.
However you choose to execute it, making idea generation a core expectation of everyone within the agency has a beneficial effect on the agency's culture, says all the right things to the clients who hear about it and can give the agency a wealth of great ideas that make the employees feel like valued contributors and can open the door to new opportunities.
We're incredibly fortunate and grateful for all the great ideas our Advantage customers share with us about new features and functionality they'd like to see in our AQUA agency management software, and we're constantly making improvements to meet those expectations and requests. If your agency management software doesn't encourage you to share your ideas and suggestions for improvements, then maybe you're using the wrong software. Request a free online demonstration of the AQUA agency management software below and see for yourself how different an agency-driven, agency-improved, agency-focused software solution can be.