Here’s the dirty little thing about geniuses, visionaries, whatever else you want to call people with big, impressive ideas: they’re vanishingly rare, if they exist at all. Most good stuff is the product of collaboration: you have a fragment of an idea, your colleague has another piece of the puzzle, and so on, and eventually you combine them, and the result is (hopefully) something great.
This is especially true for live-action and animated content – and it’s why video brainstorming sessions are so important. The more heads you knock together, the better. Creativity is one of our core values here at TopLine, and we want to reward our team for good ideas whenever they offer them, but so much creativity is borne of collaboration.
And the best, most creative collaboration (counterintuitively enough) is done within strict processes. Put an individual under pressure to come up with a good idea and they might flounder; ask them to volunteer their thoughts within a scheduled brainstorm and they’ll be more open with their thoughts and notions. It just works.
How our video brainstorming sessions work
Our video brainstorming sessions are a little unorthodox: for one thing, we always make sure that clients are welcome – a great idea is nothing if it doesn’t align with messaging or with reality.
We schedule brainstorms every Friday afternoon, with plenty of drinks and snacks available to encourage everyone to get involved. Our two trained facilitators typically get the ball rolling – briefing the team in our Monday meeting, where they’re given a sense of the purpose and intent behind the exercise. We also showcase award-winning work in these meetings to provide further inspiration.
The team has a full work week to let their thoughts percolate and cohere before the session. During the brainstorm proper, we divide the team into smaller sub-teams, where they use techniques learned from Now Go Create (the problem-solving specialists), including (but not limited to):
Related worlds. In this exercise, you imagine a sphere of interest tangentially related to the one you’re focused on, and import ideas from that world; so if you’re trying to sell accounting software, what can you learn from, for example, insurance sales?
Identity theft. This strategy is about inhabiting the shoes of another person – someone famous, usually. What would Sir Isaac Newton or Kim Kardashian do in this situation?
The resulting ideas are then presented to the team – where they’re fleshed out and discussed in greater depth. These sessions can be quite lively, and we encourage a healthy back-and-forth over the course of the hour. We have timekeepers, facilitators, and scribes present to make sure we stay on track (and stick to their video production budget) and that any ideas generated are presented to the client effectively and intelligently (and with their video distribution strategy in mind).
The session ends with a big thanks to the team for their efforts, and we always make sure to let them know which ideas have been used in our scripts.