In this year’s Super Bowl, the LA Rams met the Patriots. Both teams trained hard and ran plays to bring their best game. In the months leading up to the big game, a small creative agency, David Miami, dug down deep and created three of the coveted Super Bowl ads that many say are more fun than the game itself. One of those—for Budweiser, about its commitment to renewable energy—was the most watched early release ad on YouTube with more than 14 million views. For a creative shop to produce not one, but three Super Bowl ads is a massive career moment. For a shop with just 46 employees it’s epic. And took a culture that many companies aspire to—but few truly live.
David Griner’s piece in Adweek (read here) not only tells the story of how the team at David Miami created and produced this years’ Budweiser, Devour, and Burger King spots—it also lays out the plays any team can run to bring their best game to their work. For teams that want to innovate, and not just continue to duct tape over old broken ways of doing things, there are some key recurring themes.
Photo Credit: Adweek
Minimize bureaucracy. Stand on ceremony and hierarchy and the fireworks will be over before your team shows up for the coin toss. Get over yourself and out of everyone’s way. Take it from David Miami’s COO, Paolo Fogaca, “When you don’t have bureaucracy you don’t have anywhere to duck responsibility or hide if a project goes sour.” You and your team will be all in.
Tap into everyone’s talent.
The best ideas don’t know the bounds of org charts. And there’s no faster way to kill passion and commitment than to force them to. During the concept phase at David Miami, the team opened the creative briefs up to the whole team, rather than just a hand-picked few.
Live and breathe a constant flow of communication.
This is a personal favorite of mine. Knowledge is not power anymore. Held back from others, it never really was. Communication is. Easy, honest, open communication. It’s faster, takes less work than excluding some and not others, and drives true collaboration. And that passion thing? If we all know what we’re driving for, we’ll be in the ring together.
Diverse teams outperform others. Encourage a range of perspectives born from different backgrounds and life experiences and you’ll get a kaleidoscope of ideas more quickly that tap into a wider variety of cultural moments. Homogeneity breeds sameness. And that’s just boring.
Design-think your way to innovation.
Ask why, and then ask why again. Then repeat. Some say bring your beginner’s mind to everything you do, with your eyes and ears wide open to what may be a simple but powerful insight that can drive innovation. Thinking like this, from the customer’s POV, not your own, overcomes our intrinsic human bias and helps move past old attachments to behavioral norms, or “this is how we do things here.”
I’ve survived companies who don’t, and just can’t get out of their own way. And I’ve been lucky to be part of teams with strong chemistry, no walls or slow-moving hierarchies, and yes, it’s messier. But truly shared passion and commitment to innovation happens here because people want to show up. What have you got to lose, other than outdated hierarchies, homogeneity, time and energy-sucking bureaucracy, and maybe some of your best team members?