We weren’t going to do an original agency Christmas card. Everyone’s too busy. No one wants to take responsibility. It usually has to be approved by too many people. There are arguments over who’s ultimately responsible. So we sent out old-fashioned cards. In envelopes. With stamps. Seriously.
But one day, a couple of weeks before Christmas one of our developers, Joe Palasek, was teaching himself Canvas, the HTML 5 element that lets you draw on a web page.
He created snowflakes that changed direction in response to the movements of a mouse.
Because this developer sits in the middle of the creative department, the CCO walked by, noticed the snow, and suggested, “that’s cool; we should use it for something.”
A digital CD, who also has to walk by the developers on a regular basis, peeks at it and asks, “How would that look on Google Street View?” Joe lays it over Google and it looks pretty good. He then thinks “Why not change the markers to different icons.” Ten different creatives, writers and art directors sitting within view, randomly throw in ideas. Two art directors sketch up 99 percenters, Elvis, a ginger bread couple, a Menorah and more.
Next, a creative technologist thinks we should make “epic cards” for locations that include Abbey Road and Stonehenge along with a “gallery” page that shows the most popular locations. So Joe, along with co-developer Luke Sideris, builds Snowify.me and wraps it in an interface so people can create and share their own.
A few years ago tech guys didn’t sit inside the creative department at most agencies. Creative directors didn’t start an idea by looking over the shoulder of a programmer and getting inspired by a rough rendering. Creative teams didn’t work so collaboratively in order to make someone else’s idea better.
But my favorite line and sentiment comes from Joe. “I was just playing around teaching myself Canvas. I had something cool, but it wasn’t an idea or a concept until other people made it one.”
- Put technology and development inside your creative department.
- Let everyone play and experiment and learn to make stuff.
- Encourage collaboration beyond the two or three person team.
- Create a space that fosters collisions.
- Just do it.