Keeping up with creativity — and building trust within a narrative strategy team
I lead a team of creative strategists with different skills and experience levels — some are content strategists and writers, one is an academic researcher with a prestigious PhD, others are front- and back-end developers, others are web producers, others are UX designers. Everyone is a part-time and amateur data analyst. We’re a team that sometimes functions in a cohesive, agile way if we’re working on re-launching a site. Or we split up on various editorial and digital projects, from supporting executive speeches to creating interactive experiences to hosting international content workshops.
Often, we need to be able to produce quick narratives — for either internal presentations or external content. And often, the person we need is too busy to help.
Next up: our senior content strategist and UX expert (we wear numerous hats!) is going to give us a 1/2 hour tutorial on specific Illustrator skills we need to complete the projects we’re working on currently.
Our “Tutorial at 2pm” — we’re starting to nickname it our 2-torial, thanks to the aforementioned senior content strategist — is just one of a few rituals I’ve found to be really helpful and fun for the teams I’ve managed. In the past here at IBM Studios, I’ve started rituals like “Story and a Snack” (which got my previous team to get to know each other well and fast, and boosted our trust in each other, not to mention show off our cooking skills and recipes that reflected a variety of international cultures). And a former agile coach for another previous team started a “Song of the Day” ritual that was an excellent ice-breaker (as well as playlist builder). Both may seem cutesy, but they were helpful in getting new teams to know each other, to practice giving impromptu, cohesive narratives in front of a group, and to be creative together as a team, quickly. These were all important factors in meeting demanding deadlines that didn’t leave time for long team-building exercises.
Our current team’s 2-torial sessions promise to be even more memorable…because those memories will include new and useful skills.