Don’t let Covid kill serendipity.
Serendipity is the DNA of the creative process. It’s the invisible magic that turns the spark of discovery into the germ of an idea. Given the enormous impact of the pandemic, that puts our industry bang in the middle of a big and continuing dilemma.
The creative process thrives on social interaction and increasing social interaction generates that magical serendipity. But hold on, that means creatives need to be working together in the same place at the same time which right now the majority are not. So, here’s that big dilemma, or if you like, the brief; how do you create every opportunity in your business for increased social interaction in a world where social distancing looks set to be part of everyday life for the foreseeable?
Workplaces and working practices must be safe and secure for all, so let’s simply run everything we do through Zoom and Teams – yes? For some maybe, but only up to a point. Communication apps are fantastic tools but asking creative teams to default to them to creatively spar isn’t going to deliver blistering work as a result. All good creatives quickly worked that out during the first lockdown.
Substituting the buzz generated by face-to-face creative sparring with virtual sessions isn’t going to sustain your creative product. Creatives need to be offered a proper return to action when restrictions are lifted. But don’t start by thinking you can simply hit reboot, default to ‘normal’ and reopen your doors. That’s just lazy and you’ll be extremely lucky to pull that one off. Businesses will need to get creative with their environments; reinventing, reimagining and reshaping workspaces and working practices in order to remain viable.
Your people create best value when they work together but later this year and beyond, that will only happen if they feel safe doing so. So put your people first. They will all be coming out of this with different experiences and feelings. Some will bite your hand off to dive straight back into a reconfigured and sanitised creative department whilst others will remain cautious. Of course, vaccines are a morale booster this time round, and they seem to be working, but the reality of Covid is that it’s here to stay.
Everyone’s business is unique and everyone’s solution will be different, but the key is to do everything you can to protect the real-world creative process and the serendipity that fuels it. Just like Covid, you can’t see serendipity. If you value the quality of your creative product, get serious about making sure you don’t let one kill the other.