Fight Lab – a creative kickstart

Fight Lab – a creative kickstart

Fight Lab is a high energy, fast paced idea generating team session – a way to get a lot of ideas for a project in a really short amount of time. The method was loosely inspired by a workshop at Hyper Island that I developed further at Stendahls together with Torbjörn Briggert.

This is how the Fight Lab works
We invite 20-25 people – usually a combination of people from all type of professions at our side together with clients and students. The event usually takes place during the lunch hour. We give the participants a super short brief for 5 minutes (usually it’s something that we’re currently working on or are about to start working on), and set the ground rules and culture for the event. Then we split them into groups, with about four in every group, give them pens, some wall space and tons of post-it’s and just tell them to go for it, go with the flow and in an “yes and” kind of style – to get them working on ideas. Basically, we tell them to not think, disconnect their brain and just work the ”Yes, and” magic. And oh, no actual fighting takes place at the fight lab. We are really nice people. Promise…

High energy sets the mood
Then I play Beastie Boys very loud and after 20 minutes we stop them and let them present for two minutes what they’ve come up with and how they came up with it. We usually get around 500 ideas, and of course 90% of them are just rubbish which is absolutely fine as it is an important part of the process. But 5% of the ideas are just brilliant. And usually no one knows how they came up with them. The session is filled with energy and it’s actually quite inspired by the Hyper Island way of working.

Why we created it
It’s a way to challenge the old notion of an art director and a copywriter sitting in a room for 2 days trying to come up with one great idea. We wanted to inspire them to come up with a lots of ideas and preferably in a short amount of time, just to get the rubbish out of the system. The Fight Lab is a sort of provocation just to show everyone that it can be done, and to have lots of fun while doing it. The Fight Lab isn’t a session for coming up with the perfect idea, rather it’s about planting many seeds that’ll grow into something bigger.

Equality is key
We also want people to step out of their roles, get rid of the hierarchy, and truly start to work together. When we have clients in I don’t want them to present themselves at the start and if there are students participating, I never say that they are students. So nobody knows who works as what in their everyday job, how old they are or what they’ve worked with before. This is a way to ensure that we remove all possible barriers. And it works really well, after the events a lot of people have had an urge to reveal their titles though which can be quite funny.

Collaborate or die
We’ve done around 20 Fight Labs so far and I can definitely say that we’ve become better at collaboration and discovering each others competences as well as moving faster in the initial idea generating phase. This has of course meant a lot for our culture as well.

Want to arrange your own Fight Lab?
Without proper facilitation a session like this can quickly turn into just confusion. Be really clear and specific from the start and keep ”owning” the workshop all the way. That allows the participants to really let go and generating cool ideas. The high energy of the Fight Lab is great, but we also point out the importance of reflection so usually we ask the participants to come back with their reflections and new ideas the next day. I’ve also learnt that the summing up part is really important so that the participants understand what’s going to happen with all their idea seeds after the Fight Lab session. I always try to keep all participants at the Fight Labs in the loop of the progress of projects. It creates a great sense of pride when ideas eventually turns into cool client projects.

But most important. Have fun. Always.

» Download my tips and tricks on how to arrange your own Fight Lab
» Interview on the Hyper Island web site

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