Earlier this month, more than thirty Flint Group creatives convened at Lost Lake Lodge near Brainerd, Minnesota. The objective? To share ideas and learn from each other face to face at the Flint Group Creative Retreat. Designers and writers from across the organization spent (roughly) two days and two nights focusing on the future, improving creativity and expanding collaboration.
Things got rolling on Thursday, September 17th with an icebreaker led by SimmonsFlint designer Ann Simmons-Boushey, followed by a wonderful dinner at Lost Lake Lodge and a show and tell of creative work from each agency.
Later that night, we had some fun around the bonfire.
The next morning, our group put social media strategy to work. Writer, Lee Ziegler, and Flint Interactive designer, Alissa Pesta, led the workshop, assigning real marketing problems to small groups. Using Jason Baer’s Social Media Worksheet, the Flint Group creatives addressed the problems with strategies and ideas to create awareness, generate sales or encourage loyalty online.
That afternoon, it was time for our own unConference. Flint Communications art director, Frank Stegmaier, and writer, Phil Hunt, attended an unConference presented by One Club and the Society of Digital Agencies this spring. The experience and discussion was so valuable that we decided to conduct a smaller-scale unConference of our own.
There is no pre-determined agenda for an unConference. At the start of the event, we got together and proposed topics related to our industry and agency. After setting a a loose schedule, we talked and talked some more – documenting key points and outcomes along the way.
Some of the topics addressed included:
• The Future of Flint Group
• The Future of Print
• Surviving the Economy and the New Era of Advertising
• The Business of Design
• Ethics in the Creative Field
• Unconventional Printing and Advertising
• Social Media
• Video for the Web
• How Production Design will Change in the Future
• Interoffice Collaboration
• Finding Inspiration
• Presenting Concepts and Ideas
• Using Creativity to Make the Creative Brief Go Further
The unConference was a big success – and we recommend it to any organization that wants to discuss big, challenging ideas. For more information on the unConference format, check out the unConference Wikipedia entry, unConference.net or Open Space World.
At night we wound down with another great meal, a butter sculpture contest, plus a bonfire and an outdoor screening of the 2009 Addy Reel. On Saturday, we finished up with some brainstorming techniques from copywriter Phil Hunt, and said our goodbyes.
It was a fun weekend, and a productive one, too. We came back on Monday with fresh perspectives and solid ideas for the future of our clients and our agency. Stay tuned for more thoughts and outcomes from the retreat.