Creative Team-Building Activities

Wednesday, November 20th, 2019|Comments Off on Creative Team-Building Activities

In business, as in life, so much comes down to effective communication, coordination, and collaboration. When teams work together to solve problems in a fun environment, they can bond, connect, and learn to trust each other in ways that will help them navigate through difficult challenges in the future.

This explains the perennial popularity of team-building activities. Team-building exercises can take place inside or outside the office. They can be competitive and cooperative. Some are more fun and creatively galvanizing than others.

If you’re leading a creative team through a project or you’re a manager supervising creative professionals, it’s important for you to decide what team-building activities will best help your team to coalesce, cooperate, and put their best qualities into play.

If you’re looking for unusual team-building exercises to fire up the imaginations and problem-solving skills of your team, here are a few we suggest.

Escape Rooms

Escape room games have exploded in popularity in the last few years. They give your team a chance to work in concert and breakthrough to freedom, generally through solving a series of puzzles. As team-building exercises for professionals, escape rooms can reveal hidden leadership potential, teach colleagues new ways to support each other under pressure, and reveal issues that may need attention, all in an atmosphere leavened by storytelling, humor, and fun. Winning an escape room game can be a strong bonding experience, and even if you lose, you will gain valuable insights into how you can work better together.

Painting Parties

A painting party can give your team a chance to get moving, get their hands dirty, work their imaginative muscles, and share fun new aspects of their personalities, all in an environment emphasizing creativity, conviviality, and joyful expression. Kristine Griffith, owner of Paint ‘n Sip, a mobile paint-party service based in Los Angeles, describes a painting party as “a relaxed environment and a non-competitive activity that releases stress and facilitates conversation on a level above workplace politics. Bonding ensues.”

Storytelling Games

When you encourage your teams to tell stories about themselves and their work, it can help them develop a sense of structure, better appreciate their shared values and mission, and see their challenges by fresh and more useful lights. Such “inside games” draw on skills ranging from recalling shared memories to strategizing and mapmaking, and can incorporate the tools of brainstorming, authentic relationship-building, and improvisational comedy. You could even make a deliverable, such as a parody music video. Such games can be great standalone team-building activities as well as wonderful ways to break the ice before meetings.

At Artisan Creative, we have many ways to support managers in helping their teams reach their fullest potential. Contact Artisan today to get started.

Creating Your Personal Brand

Wednesday, November 6th, 2019|Comments Off on Creating Your Personal Brand

As a creative professional, how do you open better opportunities and do more of the work you love? How do you differentiate? In the context of personal branding, this means presenting yourself in a way that sets you apart from others in your field. Your personal brand should be easy to explain in an elevator pitch, yet complex enough to generate a range of ideas and evolve over time.

You can get some unusual personal branding insights from a classic Harvard Business Review interview with Bernard Arnault, the chairman of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the richest person in the fashion world, and one of the world’s leading authorities on building “star brands.”

Become a Star Brand

According to Arnault, a star brand has four key characteristics. “A star brand is timeless, modern, fast-growing, and highly profitable,” he says. “It is very hard to balance all four characteristics at once – after all, fast growth is often at odds with high profitability – but that is what makes them stars. If you have a star brand, then basically you can be sure you have mastered a paradox.”

To work toward becoming a creative rockstar, you should cultivate your own unique sensibility independent of passing trends. At the same time, you should pay attention to your media diet and attune yourself to the zeitgeist. And, you must have the courage to ask for what you’re worth. A creative staffing firm such as Artisan Creative can help you get a fair price for your work.

Be Your Own Biggest Fan

“A lot of companies talk about quality, if you want your brand to be timeless, you have to be a fanatic about it,” says Arnault. As a creative professional, this means pouring your passion into every piece of work you do. It also means presenting that work in a way that showcases your personal brand in the most flattering and exciting possible light.

Make sure you invest time and attention to detail when building your creative portfolio so it best communicates who you are and what you’re capable of. Attend networking events to build a professional support system and get comfortable with promoting yourself.

Be Bold and Take Risks

When working with the world’s most famous designers, Arnault’s biggest management priority is to give them the freedom to be themselves. “If you think and act like a typical manager around creative people – with rules, policies, data on customer preferences, and so forth – you will quickly kill their talent. Our whole business is based on giving our artists and designers complete freedom to invent without limits.”

As the manager of your own personal brand, this means giving yourself some space to pursue unusual ideas and try new things. You can orchestrate the right environment to loosen your creative muscles, or do fun and experimental work on your own time – work you really love – to freshen your perspective. Also, give yourself permission to occasionally pitch a risky idea. It may unlock some hidden potential in a project.

First, build rigorous self-discipline. Then give yourself the freedom to be yourself and shoot for greatness.

Seek Inspiration From Unlikely Sources

While he doesn’t make demands, Arnault does encourage designers to broaden their horizons. “Not long ago, I said to one of our designers, ‘Why don’t you take a trip to Japan and see what the teenage girls are wearing on the streets at night?’ These girls are very leading edge in fashion; they create trends years before they hit the mainstream, like with those very high shoes, and it makes very good sense to watch them. I did not say to the designer, ‘Go and see what kinds of shoes they are wearing and copy them,’ although I was hoping he would notice their shoes. I just suggested, ‘Go look.'”

To grow and refine your personal brand, capture ideas and inspiration from as many different places as you can. Go to museums, art galleries, symphonies, and public gardens, and take note of anything that strikes you. Explore the hidden history of your profession and how it’s done differently in other times and places. Keep an open mind, and you’ll have the flexibility to do unique, courageous work that is unmistakably yours.

At Artisan Creative, we help creative professionals get more from their lives and careers. Contact Artisan today to learn more.

We hope you’ve enjoyed issue # 546 of the a.blog.

Overcoming Procrastination

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019|Comments Off on Overcoming Procrastination

Procrastination is one of the greatest enemies of creativity. There’s an inherent paradox in procrastination – when we habitually procrastinate, we can often use more of our energy than it would take to simply do the work. And yet, even some of the most successful creatives struggle with procrastination.

In order to thrive in the digital age, creative professionals, as well as entrepreneurs and managers, must be able to work independently. Fortunately, we can all cultivate our inner self-motivated self-starters when we learn tools and techniques for conquering procrastination. When we learn to “get in the flow,” we can overcome our own procrastinator tendencies and bring our best, most inspired thinking to the fore.

Supplement Your Will Power

“If you imagine that motivation is like the fuel that gets you to your outcome, some fuels are very good, but others are lower quality,” says sports psychologist Ian Taylor. The sheer force of will can sometimes get you to the finish line, but in order to score consistent wins and improve your habits, you may need higher-octane support.

Visualize Positive Outcomes

When it comes to transcending these counterproductive tendencies, a winning mindset is key. In practice, this can take the form of imagining, in detail, the way your experience will change when you’ve completed the tasks in front of you. If the stress and guilt of procrastination only makes things worse, try giving yourself some positive motivation, and use your imaginative abilities to make your sense of impending reward as clear and vivid as you can.

Reduce Friction

To make things easier on yourself, eliminate any obvious impediments and distractions to doing your work. You can set aside less pressing obligations to deal with later. You can shut off phone notifications, or even try a full digital detox. You can find new collaboration tools or project management software that plays to your strengths. When you start by creating the right environment to encourage your most inspired deep work, you can beat procrastination before it starts.

Reward Yourself

You can always look forward to the relief of completing your work and the satisfaction of achieving your goals. Research indicates that immediate short-term rewards can be more powerful motivators. If you need some help staying on track, try taking periodic breaks, or find imaginative ways to make your process more pleasant as you go.

Keep It Positive

To stay motivated, focus on the benefits of following through on your work, the rewards of a job well done, the interest and passion that motivated you to undertake this work in the first place. Override your brain’s negativity bias, and you’ll find that procrastination is nothing to fear, just another challenge you can overcome with mindful behavior and an empowered mindset.

At Artisan Creative, we love to see our talent and clients get more from their projects, lives, and careers. Contact Artisan today to start the conversation!

We hope you’ve enjoyed our 544th a.blog.

Impacting Workplace Culture

Wednesday, October 9th, 2019|Comments Off on Impacting Workplace Culture

Most of us spend significant chunks of our lives at work. How we experience our jobs, our workplaces, and our professional cultures is a big part of who we are and shapes who we become. Therefore, all of us – HR and management, creative professionals, all of us – have much to gain from becoming more actively invested in our workplace culture. We deserve it.

As you become more aware of your workplace culture, how it works, and how to make it better, here are a few things to keep in mind.

All Culture Is Designed

Workplace culture rarely happens by accident. It is the result of values, whether spoken or unspoken and of actions, whether conscious or unconscious. When we act more mindfully and communicate our values more clearly, we grant ourselves more agency to collaborate and create the sort of workplace culture that better serves our needs and helps us achieve our goals. When we have a strong, supportive workplace culture, we can take pride in nurturing that culture and living in tune with what we really care about.

Know Before You Go

Recruiting and onboarding should include clear communication of the values, priorities, and expectations of the workplace culture. Before you join a team or take on new members, make sure your workplace culture is made explicit, and that it’s something everyone involved can proudly uphold and celebrate. It’s going to be a big part of your life – make sure it’s a good fit from the beginning.

Keep the Paths of Communication Open

If you don’t know, don’t be afraid to ask! Workplace culture is everyone’s business. A healthy one will encourage curiosity, new ideas, and positive contributions. As the millennial generation of workers and entrepreneurs rises in influence, its values of transparency and mission-focus can make it easier to ask useful questions and have important conversations about workplace culture.

Little Things Matter

Seemingly minor details – color schemes, layout, and organization, or whether a workplace is dog-friendly – will compound in importance over time. When you can turn small elements of your workspace or your office culture to your advantage, you make a powerful investment in your long-term success and happiness.

Check-In With Yourself

Even when you’re working hard, give yourself the time and psychological space you need to know your own mind, listen to your heart and gut, and be aware of how your workplace culture is resonating with you. The tools of mindfulness can be helpful with this process – more than a style of meditation, mindfulness is a set of habits you can adopt to develop a more perceptive and grounded take on the world. If those at all levels can become more mindful of workplace culture and dedicate themselves to nurturing and improving it together, it can be an enormously positive influence on team cohesion, productivity, and overall well being.

At Artisan Creative, we love to see creative professionals and businesses thrive. Contact Artisan today to start the conversation.

WE hope you’ve enjoyed the 545th issue of the a.blog.

Become Your Own Influencer

Wednesday, September 25th, 2019|Comments Off on Become Your Own Influencer

Social media influencers are changing the way we think about marketing. You don’t need fancy vacations or five-course meals to make use of the concepts behind influencer marketing. As a creative professional, the success of influencers can inspire you to build your personal brand, increase your network and reach, and find better professional opportunities.

Know Your Niche

As a creative professional, the more specifically you define yourself, the more you will stand out. This means honing a concrete elevator pitch and choosing a niche within your industry. “An easy way to select your niche is to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses,” says digital marketing consultant Shane Barker. “Choose a niche that allows you to showcase your strengths and hone your skills further. Deciding on a particular niche will help you streamline your audience and tailor your content to suit their preferences.”

Develop a Content Strategy

Once you’re clear on who you are, you can create content that reflects your skills and values and establishes your presence and authority in your industry and community. Your content strategy can encompass your design portfolio, your social media activity, blogging, video, or anything else that gets your message out and makes others aware of what you do. To become more influential, treat yourself like a small media company, and be thoughtful and deliberate about what sort of content you put out and how it aligns with your brand.

Choose Your Channels

There are many digital channels available, with more emerging all the time. Rather than trying to use them all, it’s better to choose a few you enjoy the most and are best for transmitting your work. If you’re a visual designer, you’ll want to use video or image-based channels to showcase your aesthetic sensibilities. If you’re a copywriter, you can publish articles on LinkedIn or use Twitter to test your concepts, slogans, and taglines. Newer channels can present unusual opportunities for those on the cutting edge.

Keep It Consistent

Your choice of channels is less important than your commitment to show up and stick with them. To build influence, you should be willing to put out a steady stream of content, provide value for your audience, and pursue continuous growth and improvement. With social media, being “always-on” can be a challenge; automation software can help, allowing you to create lots of posts in one sitting and parcel them out over time.

Engage and Grow

If you persist, iterate, and keep putting your best self forward, don’t be surprised to see your influence grow over time. As your work touches people’s lives and new opportunities present themselves, be sure to engage with those who support you. The ability to develop a worldwide professional network and work out your ideas with a supportive audience in real-time is perhaps the most rewarding perk of being an influencer, even if it’s just in your small corner of the world.

At Artisan Creative, we help creative professionals find new ways to enrich their portfolios, networks, and careers. Contact Artisan today to learn more.

Lessons From A Digital Nomad

Wednesday, September 11th, 2019|Comments Off on Lessons From A Digital Nomad

Living on the road full time isn’t easy, but it is a lot of fun. For the last three months, I’ve been doing just that. I got rid of most of my worldly possessions, threw what I had left into a 30-foot travel trailer and set off to see the great American countryside. So far, I’ve set up camp in seven states from Illinois to Montana. While the experience has been a challenging one, it has also been highly rewarding. 

This lifestyle is surprisingly more common than you might think. According to a 2018 article in the Washington Post, over one million Americans are living in RVs, camper vans, travel trailers, and fifth wheels all across the country. And digital, remote work is driving the trend. 

In years past, such lifestyles were impossible for professionals. Sure, the Woodstock generation could take off in their VW vans and earn work along the way, but for anyone with a 9-to-5, a steady life, and a family, a nomadic life just wasn’t going to work. Vacations, sure, but as a lifestyle? How would you support yourself?

Now people can make money anywhere there’s an Internet connection. There are even handy devices such as the weBoost Drive (I’ve got one!) that help you to pick up a signal where mere mortals are in a dead zone. Where you can work is now extending to some of the most remote parts of the United States and even around the globe. 

I travel about once every other week, though I have stayed in some places longer. Still, I find when I stay in one place for too long I start getting the itch. Moving days were incredibly stressful at first — I couldn’t even get the trailer unhitched from the truck without a little help from friendly passers-by. Now? It’s routine. There’s a short checklist of things to be done. They get done. The trailer moves. I’m in a new place, with all kinds of new sights to see and explore. 

You’ll meet a lot of people on the road. Almost all of them are friendly, personable and willing to help. One time my truck got stuck on the road in a very bad spot. A random farmer was happy to provide assistance as I turned the truck around what could have been a very dangerous obstacle. When my trailer had a wasp problem, some neighbors brought me a can of insecticide and refused reimbursement for it. Virtually all of my experiences with my neighbors and strangers on the road have been very positive.

There’s also so much to see out there. I hadn’t seen much of America before I set off on this trip and what I had seen was confined to a few large cities. I’m writing this from a town of 2,000 people. The town doesn’t have a Starbucks or a Trader Joe’s, but it’s still a great place to stay. The local gym is filled with friendlies who are willing to point out the best spots this small town has to offer. 

You also miss a lot sticking just to big cities. There’s simply no competition for the wide-open spaces of the countryside. Mountains, forests, rivers, and lakes are all right outside my door at virtually every stop along the way. 

In over three months on the road, I haven’t stayed in an RV park once. My trailer has made its home in people’s backyards, state parks, local parks and even a couple of Wal-Mart parking lots. Not only is this cheaper but it gives me the kind of breathing room I’d like to have. The population density of an RV park isn’t that much different from Los Angeles or San Francisco. 

In part, this is possible because my trailer is outfitted with a number of amenities that make living on the road, away from everything for long periods of time, very easy. I’m going on one month in the same place with no connection to the power grid and I’ve never wanted for electricity thanks to new efficiencies in solar technology. My composting toilet smells a lot nicer than most people’s bathrooms and certainly nicer than the chemical toilets that are basically an airplane bathroom in a trailer. Yuck.

One of the best things about living on the road is that I’ve learned just how little I need to live my life. I collect things. Clothes, books, records, bric-a-brac. Getting rid of it was a very daunting task at first. But now, anytime I buy something new I have to carefully consider if I really need it. After all, any new addition to my life means less space in my trailer and more weight my truck has to pull. 

This isn’t just about owning things or not owning things. If having lots of stuff makes you happy, by all means, have lots of stuff. But in my time on the road, I’ve come to get a deeper appreciation for the experiences that are to be had over the things that can be bought. The old me would have needed to get a mug and a t-shirt from every burg and hamlet I stopped in. The new me is happy to take in the sights, the smells, and the local cuisine. 

If this kind of life appeals to you, the transition is a lot easier than you think. Most of the stress occurs in the first three weeks or so. Once you’re past that, it becomes just like any other lifestyle — routine.  That said, I’m looking out my window at some of the biggest mountains in the United States and I can’t believe they’re real. Some things, no matter how routine they are, will always be amazing to me.

At Artisan Creative, we believe in life-work integration and have been a virtual business for over 10 years. Our team works remotely, and this is our team member Laura Pell’s adventures from the road.  Contact Artisan Creative today to connect.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 543rd issue of the a.blog.

Building Leadership Skills

Wednesday, August 28th, 2019|Comments Off on Building Leadership Skills

Being a great leader requires more than getting a promotion. Every great leader has a unique mix of skills – wisdom, courage, humility, analysis, empathy, among others. As a manager, you can cultivate and improve yourself as a leader. No matter what field you’re in, what role you have, or what your team needs from you, some principles of exceptional leadership are consistent across time and disciplines.

In 2009, the author William Deresiewicz delivered an address to the plebe class at the United States Military Academy at West Point on the topic of leadership. Specifically, he focused on what differentiates great leaders from the rest, and how leaders can learn to buck convention and groupthink and to trust the wisdom of their minds and hearts. The speech has become a classic among those who aspire to the timeless attributes of powerful, holistic leadership.

Deresiewicz’s ideas can help you accomplish your goals, help your team surpass its own expectations, hone your perspective, and make the most of your innate leadership ability in any situation regardless of team size and structure.

Cultivate Focus

To focus means to set aside time for difficult challenges and deep work. It requires eliminating distractions, honing in on what matters, and tackling your biggest challenges head-on. It means learning to apply mindfulness not just as a practice of self-improvement, but as a way of approaching all your important tasks and responsibilities.

Deresiewicz says, “it’s perfectly natural to have doubts, or questions, or even just difficulties. The question is, what do you do with them? Do you suppress them, do you distract yourself from them, do you pretend they don’t exist? Or do you confront them directly, honestly, courageously? If you decide to do so, you will find that the answers to these dilemmas… can only be found within – without distractions, without peer pressure, in solitude.”

Learn To Be Alone

Indeed, the central topic of Deresiewicz’s address is the importance of solitude. The only way to lead others is to get comfortable with being alone.

“I started by noting that solitude and leadership would seem to be contradictory things,” he says. “But it seems to me that solitude is the very essence of leadership. The position of the leader is ultimately an intensely solitary, even intensely lonely one. However many people you may consult, you are the one who has to make the hard decisions. And at such moments, all you really have is yourself.”

Whether you’re an introvert, an extrovert, or something in between, it is essential that you take time alone with your thoughts and feelings to better know yourself and build trust in your own counsel. This will give you the true bedrock confidence that will let your team relax and know you know what you’re doing. Whatever responsibilities you have as a manager and a leader, perhaps the greatest is to take the time and space you need for yourself.

Build Relationships

Solitude, according to Deresiewicz, “can mean introspection, it can mean the concentration of focused work, and it can mean sustained reading. All of these help you to know yourself better. But there’s one more thing I’m going to include as a form of solitude, and it will seem counter-intuitive: friendship. Of course, friendship is the opposite of solitude; it means being with other people. But I’m talking about one kind of friendship in particular, the deep friendship of intimate conversation. Long, uninterrupted talk with one other person. Not Skyping with three people and texting with two others at the same time while you hang out in a friend’s room listening to music and studying. That’s what Emerson meant when he said that ‘the soul environs itself with friends, that it may enter into a grander self-acquaintance or solitude.'”

As a leader, you must build a network of peers, mentors, and friends who want the best for you, who can see opportunities for you that you can’t, and who can engage with you in infinite games and deep, honest, fearless conversation. These are the relationships that most matter.

We’re All Creatives Now

Technology is changing the structures of business and society at a dizzying pace. We can no longer rely on the safety of convention. Managers and leaders must embrace the necessary skills and mindsets of creativity. We must innovate, improvise, think differently, and think positively.

The essence of creativity is courage. It’s not just for capital-C Creatives anymore. As a leader, you must be free to explore, have the intellectual honesty to critique your own ideas, and have the guts to defend them. That’s the sort of bold, compassionate leadership today’s team needs and wants.

At Artisan Creative, we have decades of experience helping leaders build winning teams and winning mindsets. Contact Artisan Creative today to start the conversation.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 541st issue of the a.blog.

The Art of Self-Promotion

Wednesday, August 14th, 2019|Comments Off on The Art of Self-Promotion

Whether you’re looking for the perfect job, starting your own business, or building your career as a creative freelancer, your success depends on more than doing great work. Others must know you’re doing great work, which can only happen if you share your skills, accomplishments, and passions in a visible way. This means you need to promote yourself.

Many creatives are shy about self-promotion, as it feels hard to do so even when you know you’re worth promoting. Experiment with these ideas and you’ll develop habits that amplify your work, increase your presence in your community, and put you on track to seize opportunities, careers, and the life you want.

Learn the Basics of Marketing and Branding

As you build the groundwork for your promotional initiatives, you can use the same principles and strategies that guide the marketing and branding efforts of the world’s largest corporations. The basics are freely available in our brief guides to defining your personal brand and marketing yourself like a business – you just need to apply them. To start, make sure your creative portfolio represents you as well as possible. Then, test your efforts in the real world by attending networking events. If you’ve built up some resistance to self-promotion, now is the time to take some risks and raise your comfort level.

Make a Brag Document

To promote yourself effectively, you should be keenly aware of your body of work, what you love, where you excel, and your larger career trajectory. Of course, when you’re immersed in creative work, it can be easy to lose track of how much you’ve accomplished. To keep track of where you’ve been and find clues about where to go next, maintain a “brag document,” an inventory of what you’ve done and a key to analyzing how it all fits together. Julia Evans explains the purpose and substance of a brag document and provides an easy-to-use template so you can create your own. This can help you prepare to get recognized, negotiate, back up your claims, and angle for promotions and new opportunities.

Defend Your Ideas

One of the most useful tools of self-promotion is also an essential skill in giving effective presentations: the power to defend your ideas. To do this, you should understand your own work better than anyone else. You should be prepared to explain your decisions and to field questions, comments, objections, and criticisms in a way that preserves the integrity of your work while allowing healthy space for improvement. This is easier said than done, and Mike Monterio can help. As the author Design Is a Job and You’re My Favorite Client, he’s one of the go-to sources of insight on how to get tough and give your ideas the robust defense they deserve. In this fierce and funny keynote presentation, while geared toward graphic designers, can help anyone dramatically improve their mindset around explaining themselves and their work, which is a key to effective self-promotion.

Beware the Negativity Bias

According to the science of evolutionary psychology, our brains have evolved to help us merely survive; if we’re going to thrive, we have to do it ourselves, with intent. Historically, negative information was more important to our survival than positive information – a tiger chasing you deserves more attention than a sweet-smelling daffodil beside the trail – so we’re wired to prioritize the negative over the positive. In the modern world, our natural negativity bias can hold us back if we fixate on risks and weaknesses and don’t focus enough attention on the rewards we want and the strengths that can help us achieve them. To cultivate a winning mindset, it’s important to bolster ourselves with positive information. This means choosing our relationships carefully, being mindful of our self-talk, and learning the basics of positive psychology. After all, our strongest self-promotion comes from within.

At Artisan Creative, we love to showcase your talents and promote your skills to our clients. When you’re ready to take your business or your career to the next level, let’s get in touch!

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 540th issue of the a.blog.

Is Gamification Right For Your Team?

Wednesday, July 31st, 2019|Comments Off on Is Gamification Right For Your Team?

Have you ever had to complete a task that you did not find intrinsically inspiring? Did you find ways of making it more fun, giving yourself the dopamine spikes you needed to finish it and enjoy yourself a bit in the process? If so, you’ve stumbled upon the art and science of gamification.

The study of how to make work fun dates back to the sociologists and management theorists in the mid-20th Century. Gamification as we know it took off in the 2010s, as video games became a dominant cultural force, game designer Jane McGonical released her groundbreaking book Reality Is Broken, and “gamification” became a buzzword for experience designers in Silicon Valley. Now, gamification has become a noticeable influence on product design and business processes.

You can use the basic principles of gamification to make your own work more rewarding, and to help your team work together more effectively. Here are a few core ideas to start with.

Competition

We each have an innate competitive instinct, a drive to thrive and survive. Well-designed games help us direct this energy toward a positive purpose, leveraging our competitive tendencies to create more wealth and happiness for the group.

Cooperation

At the same time, we get more done and experience more satisfaction when we are aware of the cooperative social dynamics that sustain us. The best games build camaraderie, encourage teamwork, and allow us to take pride in our role in a larger system. In his classic book Gamification By Design, author Gabe Zichermann observes that games can help us more effectively model the future by better understanding relationships between interdependent variables. In this spirit, McGonigal has devised games in which players find solutions for climate change and other human rights challenges.

Progress and Leveling Up

As UX designers know, we are often more productive when we quantify our achievements and see the effects of our progress. As we build new skills, our goals and challenges, too, should evolve over time.

Creativity

When players have attained certain levels of mastery, great games should give them ways in which to “color outside the lines,” to go outside the prescribed framework of the game and make their own rules. This catalyzes fluid intelligence and helps us unlock our potential to apply our problem-solving skills at more and more challenging levels of abstraction.

Changing the Game, For the Better

Gamification is not without some controversy. Critic Ian Bogost points to the creation of “exploitationware” and warns against attempting to gamify and quantify work in lieu of improving workplace culture and society holistically.

To use gamification as a tool for team-building, make sure your team is engaged with the right kinds of games and activities, to bring out the best ideas and mission tactics that undergird them. “To improve workers’ satisfaction through games,” writes Ben Mauk in The New Yorker, “you need their consent.”

At Artisan Creative, we’re on the front lines of the movement to create the future of work. Contact Artisan today and discover how you can make your career, your business, and your life more successful, more satisfying, and more fun.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 539th issue of the a.blog

Best Practices For Remote Meetings

Thursday, July 18th, 2019|Comments Off on Best Practices For Remote Meetings

As digital communications technology becomes ever more efficient, more projects are being done by remote workers and even entire remote teams. This means that digital meetings are becoming the norm. On-site teams are also making the most of the convenience of digital meeting technology.

In some respects, digital meetings are easier to run than their in-person equivalents. However, to be effective, remote meetings require some special planning and organizational considerations that should be kept in mind.

Know Your Goals

Always plan your digital meetings around a clear objective. Each meeting has its own purpose. It could be brainstorming, accomplishing a specific goal, or simply a routine check-in to make sure your remote team is in sync and communicating clearly. When you know what you want to get from a remote meeting, it’s easy to follow up and determine afterward whether or not it was successful and adjust your approach accordingly. Plus, this will help you avoid the dreaded “meeting that could have been an email.”

Know Your Agenda

Take responsibility for structuring your digital meeting in advance. Determine who is going to lead each specific discussion, create a document outlining everything that needs to be discussed, and share your agenda with anyone who plans to attend. This will make it easy for everyone to organize their thoughts and prepare for expectations before the camera light blinks on.

Know Your Software

There is an array of tools and platforms available for running digital meetings. When you choose one, it will likely become the go-to for your team. Make sure your selection has all the necessary features, is compatible with any other relevant software or hardware, and is easy for everyone to use and to explain to any outsiders who join particular meetings. If some relevant parties are not able to attend, you may want to make sure your software has recording capabilities, so you can send them the video to review later.

Know Your Schedule(s)

In the digital age, with many remote teams, clients, and stakeholders are scattered across different time zones and continents, inquire in advance to make sure that everyone can attend and has a quiet, distraction-free area to log on. If some attendees can only use audio, make sure they have any visual presentations beforehand to avoid confusion. Additionally, respecting everyone’s time with – a “hard stop” and some consideration will ensure that the meeting doesn’t cause unnecessary stress for remote team members and clients who may have other obligations you aren’t aware of.

At Artisan Creative, our years of success operating as an entirely remote team gives us an edge in navigating the new world of digital work. Contact Artisan to prepare for digital creative success, today and tomorrow.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 538th issue of the a.blog

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