Nurturing good ideas and team spirit!



From Quentin de Lattre

Let's be frank from the outset. When I was asked to write an article for the agency's blog, I got out my best imitation of a fawn caught in the headlights of a lorry. "What on earth would you like me to write?", I cried inwardly as torpor overtook me! But then I pulled myself together and remembered that when I was inspired, I wrote quite easily. So as I write this, I've poured myself a big glass of IPA-type inspiration - a NEIPA with subtly tropical notes from Amundsen, to be precise - and I'm off.

I've been told that the subject has to be relevant to the agency, touch on technology or anything else that comes remotely close to our areas of expertise. So I'm going to dedicate this article to... food! Over and above a deliberately contradictory spirit, it's a reasoned choice that's guiding me, because meals at the agency are a real anchor for team cohesion and conviviality. The way meals are organised at our agency is certainly similar to that of many other companies of a similar size: you come to the kitchen, heat up your meal in the microwave or go and get takeaway food in the neighbourhood, then sit down at the table - at a distance from each other - and eat while half-absorbed by an Instagram, Youtube, BuzzFeed etc. feed.

I can see you protesting that this isn't a problem. Admittedly, it seems as though all millennials have their phones in the palm of their hands and their necks permanently bent when they eat, but let's not forget that we most certainly grew up in households where we religiously watched Darius present the 19:30 programme during the evening meal. It's a valid argument, yes, but in a digital communications agency, you'd think that exchanges between colleagues would be rather welcome. Which isn't really the case when you decide to eat face-to-face with Snapchat.

But everything's different when you're having a bite to eat! This is the kind of occasion where everyone shares the same meal - crêpes party, game stew, tartiflette, grilled meat, etc. During these lunches, there's a lot of chatting, laughing and chatting, but above all, the phones are in the pockets (except to capture the essential stories). So yes, of course, the lunch break is a bit longer, but in my opinion, it's not all unproductive time - quite the opposite.

This kind of atmosphere encourages interaction between the team and that clearly has an impact on our work. We talk about the projects we're working on, the issues we're coming up against, or the campaign concepts we're developing. Normally, we work in small specialist groups where each profile has its own expertise. But when we have these discussions with the whole team, that's when sometimes the magic happens and someone who seems completely external to the project, or whose skills wouldn't have justified 3 hours of marketing brainstorming, comes up with the idea that unlocks the inspiration for the others! Of course, the chemistry doesn't always work, and sometimes you end up with an idea like "What if we took the client's branding song and reworked it with duck calls? But it's always gratifying to think that the developer had the spark of genius to come up with the copy for the client's next Instagram campaign...

To conclude - since I'm coming to the end of my inspiration - I'd say that agency lunches are another opportunity to be productive and creative, but in a much more informal, relaxed setting, where the atmosphere means that everyone has the opportunity to share ideas and even their 'brain farts'.

For this recipe to work, spontaneity is key. Avoid "Let's have a fondue and brainstorm!", because if you know it's a working lunch, you're preconditioned, and that closes the door on serendipity.

On the contrary, it should remain a meal, because it's around the plate that the mind relaxes and sparks of genius can happen. And I'm not saying it has to be a daily thing either! For the sake of preserving what's left of our summer body, and above all to avoid the exercise becoming forced, it has to be greedy and clever!

On that note, I'm off to prepare a little bouillabaisse for the whole team, so goodbye, and bon appétit of course!


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