The Behance Team recently interviewed Ian McCallam, founder and creator of the website This Ain't No Disco. Whenever we interview especially productive creative people, we always ask for their tips on how to organize, stay productive, and lead others in the pursuit of making ideas happen. Ian has some particularly helpful insights and observations to share on successful creative environments that combine inspiration and execution:
40 second meetings.
"An agency I did some work with had a great system of 40 second meetings. Only those who needed to be present were present. It was their job to "gather the facts" before the meeting. Each person had 40 seconds to get across their point and updates. Members of the meeting had truly learned how to cut to the chase and make their point the most important. This skill followed through into their day-to-day work. They now have a stronger ability to identify the true action points from the clutter. Timelines for jobs have since been dramatically decreased."
"In this method, employees would place quirky signs on the back of their chairs displaying the status of their work mentality. Examples were: 'kinda busy, but up for random play', 'I'm at one with myself - do not disturb', Looking for inspiration' etc. It was a silent message to all team members of their current state of mind. It gave other team members a better understanding of how to approach one another and ultimately how to get the most out of someone, depending on their mood."
Too much junk/clutter.
"I was discussing this once with an agency and they explained how clutter became frustrating because it also caused competitiveness amongst employees. I assume "who has the coolest stuff?". Ultimately this all leads to confusion and could often affect concentration. They told me: 'We want our staff to create their own personal space, but to the same extent it needs to be controlled. Once a month, we will completely clear all of the desks, bar the telephones and the computers. Everything goes in a box on a Friday and we start again on a Monday. It"s extremely cathartic.'"
Places to escape to. Freedom to roam.
"Sometimes people just need to escape and get away from their desk. Having the opportunity to provide break out rooms and "productive distractions" such as foosball tables, games etc can often lead to increased productivity. However, with the productive distractions also comes a fine balance of work, rest, play"
Behance articles and tips are adapted from the writing and research of Scott Belsky and the Behance team. Behance runs the Behance Creative Network , the Creative Jobs List, and develops knowledge, products, and services that help creative professionals make ideas happen.