Don't bin the brainstorm!
Don't bin the brainstorm!

The creative community is facing unprecedented challenges and collaboration has never been more important. We’ve been fed lots of tips on how to work remotely, which is all well and good, but what about Creative Brainstorming in the face of the COVID-19 crisis?

We've all worked at home at some stage, but never all at the same time. We are remote without really knowing for how long. Yes, we're in a crisis, but this can also be an opportunity to step away from your routine and to be exposed to new habits. If you can capitalise on this potential, free of the distractions of an office, you can truly create some unique work.

4 areas of focus for creative brainstorming remotely
4 areas of focus for creative brainstorming remotely


As far as working remotely goes, we're very fortunate it's 2020. Remote doesn’t mean isolation. With the click of a button, you can text, email, or call anyone from your agency. This makes it much easier to keep ideas bouncing, stories generating, concepts forming - it’s so important to keep open lines of communication so anyone can call, message or email when they need direction, motivation, or just a simple chat – it’s good to talk.


Be it Zoom, FaceTime, Slack, Teams, over the coming days figure out which channel works for you and your coworkers – and please let us know how you get on. At IAPI we’ve scheduled a daily Zoom for an hour in the AM. It’s basically a catch-up coffee call and a sharing of news and ideas, with welcome interferences from the odd cat or two.


We all share videos, songs, pictures and stories, and there's no reason we can't share these with our colleagues too. Get a WhatsApp group going, Google Docs, create playlists, send sketches, encourage comments, ask questions, keep ideas flowing throughout the day. The current situation represents uncharted waters for the creative community, so let’s continue to band together and share ideas to weather the storm.


It’s never been more important to be the strong brainstorming facilitator that you are. Lead the meeting and ask lots of questions. Remember we're adjusting, there will be awkward pauses, but be okay with a few seconds of silence, others don’t know if your connection stopped or if you’re looking for something. Continue with lots of check-in calls early and at the end of the day to track the progress of what everyone is working on.

Here's how you do it:
Here's how you do it:

1. Be organised

Send the agenda, notes and goal before the meeting to each participant and request they do some work ahead of time.

2. Use the right tool

Leverage the power of technology and choose a tool that matches the group and the challenge you're facing.

3. Involve everyone equally

Make sure more outspoken participants give less vocal members their chance to contribute.

4. Keep track of time

Make a schedule and stick to it. Stay focused and follow the timeline.

5. Keep an open mind

Be respectful and make sure each participant keeps and open mind. Negative feedback and criticism kills the creative process.

6. Debrief ASAP

Get in the habit of debriefing as soon as possible after the brainstorm is over. Keep the momentum going.

Top creatives advice on working from home
Top creatives advice on working from home

Des Creedon, Executive Creative Director, TBWA Dublin

I think the biggest problem is the separation of work and home-life. People work differently. So some, try and power through all their work in the morning to mind kids in the afternoon, some in the evening, then some can work all day long. Which means there are emails at all different times of the day or night. So, we've tried to put some strategies into place to curb this; like responses only happen in working hours, unless it's an emergency. And if it is, ring the person, don't email and expect a response. Also, encouraging most business to happen in business hours only and also encouraging staff to alongside a lunch, take at least an hour away from any devices during the day. Also over communication is something we are practicing, so more check-in's than usual etc.

Steve O'Sullivan, Head of Creative, Catapult

Don't Bin the Brainstorm!

Brainstorming is more important now than ever. All clichés are in play - think outside the box, no idea is a bad idea, reinvent the wheel.

Agencies over the past fortnight seem to be more innovative than ever.

For us, our thought process is two-fold; what can we do for our clients to keep them active, relevant and maintain communication whilst being sensitive to the situation, especially when cut through is at its toughest, and how can we help the overall situation with an industry full of thinkers, doers, and makers.

Brainstorm tip: Keep ideas flying - whatever pops into your head, share it, who knows what may come of it. The last week feels like a constant brainstorm. For formal, project/campaign-based sessions; It has to be a video call, everyone has to be prepped, everyone has to be eager, keep them short and often, catching up regularly and getting that face time in. Long video calls lose impact and everything is changing at lightspeed.

Simon Chapman, Senior Creative, Edelman Ireland

COVID-19 has forced me to rethink and reassess many things, among those are the stories we tell and the impact they have on our society.

Now is the time to reflect on the importance of community and the support we all need and need to give as we navigate through this challenging time.

At Edelman we discuss ideas as a team (over Teams) and brainstorm together keeping these ideals in mind.

For me, ideas can come from anywhere, from playing games with my kids to walking the dog for a break. I find myself thinking more about what people need over what they want at the moment.

All brands have value that are relevant at the moment.

My advice is to keep yourself and your family safe, and by focusing on what’s important, ideas will continue to flow.