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How we jumpstart innovation at Liquid

Here at Liquid, we take innovation very seriously. And, if you are serious about innovation we believe you have to make creativity a priority. That’s why we recently organized our first Creative Summit, a one-day offsite attended by creative teams from all of our offices. The day included a facilitated museum visit, lectures, and group exercises that introduced our staff to new skills and tools designed to jumpstart creativity and innovation. Here’s a recap of the day’s activities and some of our learnings.

Asking people to be innovative is simply not enough.


Query any designer on where their creativity comes from, and often the answer is “I don’t know.” The truth is, creativity is unpredictable. Precisely when or how an idea strikes is mysterious. Yet, innovation and creativity are crucial in business. Alfredo Muccino, Liquid’s Chief Creative Officer worked closely with Group Creative Directors Diane Stember Richards and Lawrence Orleck in thinking about how to inspire our creative teams, how to help them focus on innovation, and thinking of ways we can make creativity slightly more predictable The team decided an investment of time fully dedicated to learning new skills, gaining exposure to fresh ideas, and generally being inspired was in order. From these discussions we crafted the first ever Liquid Creative Summit—an entire day dedicated to immersive learning about creativity.

Looking closer and discovering what’s right in front of our eyes.


In everyday life we are confronted with an overwhelming multitude of visual stimuli. Our brains have adapted to filter out much of the visual noise we encounter in order to focus on what is initially perceived as important. This “filter” can be helpful, especially when we see something that might harm us. It allows us to focus on and avoid the threat. That same filter can also keep us from truly seeing something that is right in front of our eyes. Since many of us find inspiration in art, we invited our creative teams to gather at the San Jose Museum of Art, where we began a full day of activities. We started with an interactive gallery visit during which a SJMA educator challenged us to take a deeper look at a number of works and articulate what we thought the artist was communicating. The exercise created an engaging discussion and made it possible for each of us to see things we had not seen before. At the same time, we all got to know each other better—which is important in an agency that values collaboration and communication.

Working in teams and flexing our creative muscles.


The next exercise organized by the Museum staff involved breaking into teams to develop a pilot for a TV series. Each team was given a toy doll, a few art supplies, a camera, and about an hour to develop a concept, script outline, and visual storyboards. Teams worked collaboratively throughout the process, and at the end of the allotted time, each team presented their concepts—much to the amusement of the entire group. The exercise was a lot of fun, but more importantly we learned valuable lessons in teamwork, resourcefulness, efficiency, decision making, prototyping, and presentation.

Marty Neumeier challenged us to dream.

Our distinguished Director of Transformation, Marty Neumeier not only participated in the day’s activities, he also challenged us to engage our imagination in new ways. According to Marty “imagination is one of the more mysterious capabilities of the human mind.” To drive home the point, Marty held what he called a “Dreaming Workshop” where he asked us provocative questions like: “How’s it possible to conjure up images, feelings, or concepts that we can’t perceive through our senses?” and “How can we arrive at workable solutions without the benefit of logical thought?” The workshop included a presentation where Marty shared 10 tips designed to help us access our imaginations and arrive at truly original solutions. A SlideShare of Marty’s 10 tips is included below. The presentation was followed by an exercise where he asked us to leverage our newly learned methods against big picture issues, like education, banking, retail, government, healthcare, among others. We are happy to report that with Marty’s help we’ve developed a plan that will completely overhaul education and government. Okay, not really, but we did come up with some interesting ideas.

Marty Neumeier’s 10 tips to help jumpstart creativity.

The presentation that Marty shared with us was both helpful and inspiring, so we’ve included it here. We hope you find it to be a valuable resource. We’d love to hear what you think about Marty’s tips, and of course if you have any tips of your own to add, it would be great if you could share them in the comments below.

Innovation and inspiration followed by celebration.


The Liquid Creative Summit was followed by a night filled with laughter and camaraderie. We have found that if you want to build teams that work well together, it’s helpful to spend time outside of work together. Because the better we know each other, the better we can create and collaborate together.

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