The notion that there are two sides to every story is a well-worn adage. And it’s ringing true for me these days. On the one side, the pandemic and remote work have been very disruptive to our agency. On the other, we’ve produced some of our best work in the last four months. Let me explain.

At McKim, a significant part of our approach in developing creative and strategic ideas is highly collaborative. An integral component of this is posting sketches and printouts of early-stage work on the walls of the agency — in offices, common areas and hallways. It looks messy. And it works.

Folks from all departments gather in large or small groups to review, discuss, debate, recommend changes, bring forward additional ideas, and continually refine until, as a community, we know that the work is ready to share with clients. 

In my mind, gathering and sharing ideas communally is an irreplaceable component of creative work. It democratizes the creative experience. It puts ideas from junior staff alongside those of our leadership group. It enables our best thinking to emerge. It ensures ideas have clarity and simplicity. And it engages our entire team in the client’s purpose and allows everyone to share ownership of the outcomes.

Working remotely makes this kind of collaboration difficult. And yet, we’ve been hyper productive these past four months. And that’s the other side of the story. Through our practices that have evolved over many years of working together, collaboration has been ingrained in our culture and our DNA. It’s about the people, not the place.

The perfect example is our new campaign for Recycle Everywhere, which was conceptualized pre-pandemic but had to be produced during the lockdown. Although the ideas were mostly solid before we all started working from home, the finessing and production took a phenomenal amount of ingenuity and collaboration — between the agency, the client and our production partners.  

It’s a terrific campaign for an amazing client, and coincidentally, it also tells two sides of one story. You can see it here.

It’s difficult to predict how our agency’s processes will evolve, or how much of our work will still need to be done remotely versus in the office. But our commitment to collaboration, ideas and insights, and doing important work will be the guiding principles that influence how we structure our business to meet your changing needs in the coming months.

Look forward to seeing you soon.

Stay well,