How to Build a Better Creative Team

When you build a creative team, you hope that the team as a whole will be more creative and productive than the sum of its parts.

It all starts with setting goals, then proceeds to finding the right people for the team. Then, the creative team must be managed well. When it all clicks, a creative team can become a hub of innovation management, pushing creative ideas through from concept to implementation.

It isn’t necessarily easy, since creative types may have unorthodox ideas about processes and administration. However, it can be done, and the result can be the difference between innovation that stalls out and innovation that soars. Here’s how to do it.

Make Expectations Clear from the Start

Knowing why you’re putting together a creative team is the foundation upon which that team will be built. If your goal is generating a flowing pipeline of new ideas for your business, your approach will be a bit different than if your goal is to complete a particular project. Defining your goals and expectations will help you communicate better with potential creative team members while helping them understand how they can best contribute.

When talking to people you’re considering for your creative team, talk about the goals for the team, both short- and long-term if possible. This helps both you and potential team members determine whether they would be good additions.

Choose the Right People for the Team

You don’t want a team of clones. Diversity of background and experience will help ensure that you end up with the broadest range of ideas because different people approach challenges in different ways. Experience counts, of course, but don’t be overly impressed by the status of companies or people with whom they have worked. Passion and values consistent with your goals are more important than the names and companies that show up on their resumes.

Group of people sitting on the floor with a laptop and documents.
Diversity of ideas and backgrounds encourages novel ways of meeting challenges.

With any high-performing team of creatives, you can be sure that each member came to their place on the team through different (often wildly different) paths. This is great, as long as you understand each team member and encourage interaction and collaboration.

Optimize the Creative Environment

Find as many opportunities as you can to use the physical environment to inspire creativity and collaboration. Maybe this means replacing rows of identical cubicles with a larger open space or setting aside a handful of quiet spaces where individuals can go when they need to focus on some aspect of their work.

Make sure team members have access to the tools and software they need. Ideally, they should have access to at least some of these tools when they’re away from the office because it’s hard to predict when great ideas will strike. Cultivating creative energy means creating an environment that is conducive to it.

Manage the Team a Bit Differently

There’s no doing away with bureaucracy entirely, even in the most creative business. The key is managing the emails, meetings, and other administrative work so it doesn’t take over. This can be done through automated workflows and, perhaps ironically, through a handful of well-chosen defined procedures.

For example, establishing a central method for change requests for everyone to use prevents headaches like tracking down sticky notes and playing phone tag. Having team members submit their work through a central shared virtual studio ensures nobody’s work is lost. The goal is to streamline as much of the bureaucratic and administrative necessities as possible, so team members can focus on putting their creative talents to work.

Creativity and innovation management go together seamlessly when you have a great creative team. Take the time to assemble the team with care and forethought, and provide them with the environment, tools, and processes that allow them to focus on creative work, and you can build a team that is greater than the sum of its parts. If you’d like to know more about encouraging and incentivizing creativity, we encourage you to download Creative Rewards to Incentivize Engagement.

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