Ideas are the lifeblood of Jim McCafferty’s business. And, whether Jim and his team at JMP Creative are working on a new promotional campaign for a client or the next hot new toy, they need a steady flow of ideas. The concepts they come up with can’t just be good; they have to be extraordinary. “We have to create something very special. The bar is really, really high,” says Jim, who started his California-based design and invention company more than 25 years ago.
The creative minds at JMP have become experts at developing original ideas that wow clients and sell products. The company’s toy concepts alone have been turned into more than a billion units of product for some of the top names in the business.
But Jim says being innovative and creative day after day is tough. And in his line of work, you can’t let up because “you’re only as good as the last thing you’ve created.” That’s why he goes to such great lengths to inspire creative thinking.
Going to extremes to spark creativity
Due to the sheer volume of ideas team members must generate, they can’t work like everyone else. So they take a more playful approach to getting things done, starting with the office environment. It includes a Fun House full of toys and gadgets for inspiration, a conference room designed as a spaceship and a meeting and collaboration space that looks like a submarine, aptly called The Think Tank.
“We’re always trying to find ways to stimulate ideas and enthusiasm for finding something special or new,” says Jim. “You have to work hard at it to find the magic.” And if anyone knows how to do that it should be Jim, who started his career as a magician.
He saw the magic in Nureva visual collaboration solutions right away. From the moment he saw the Nureva™ Wall, he knew he had to have one. He was drawn by the wall's potential, when paired with Span™ Workspace, to bring more creative energy to brainstorming and make collaborating with his international teams and business partners easier and more efficient. “I feel like this is the beginning of the future of collaboration,” says Jim.
Energizing design collaboration
He especially likes the large, interactive space the solutions provide. Several people at a time can work together, making notes, sketching ideas, adding information and then moving things around and grouping them to create new concepts.
During design review and collaboration sessions, team members use Span Workspace on their iPad® devices to sketch ideas and instantly add them to a canvas. Files are later saved and shared so team members can continue to work on concepts whenever they like. And, whether Jim is working with his team in China or his partners in Australia or Germany, they can all work together in real time. “The fact that we can all collaborate at once is very exciting to us.”
Making more room for ideas to grow
Jim spends a lot of time thinking about creativity and devising new ways to improve the ideation process at JMP. The company has even developed its own brainstorming technique called Nitro.
Nitro brainstorming sessions are intensely creative and often have a carnival-like quality to them. The goal is to inspire new ideas with unusual and unexpected creativity stimuli. Team members never know who or what might be joining them. It could be puppies or alligators one day, stunt men, acrobats or actors the next.
Jim says he’s willing to try just about anything to get his team thinking in new and innovative ways because he’s seen the results. “When we create a product and license it to a toy company and they sell a hundred million dollars’ worth of that toy, I guess it works,” he chuckles.
Nureva solutions enhance JMP’s already successful creative process by making it more efficient and dynamic. The large digital canvas has replaced the 20 bulletin boards the team used to use for brainstorming. They needed all that space to interact with their content, but moving so many boards around was “very annoying and frustrating,” says Jim. “When I saw the Nureva Wall, it made me hopeful that we could have a more efficient way to do that.”
Using digital canvases makes things much easier. Now everyone can see and interact with the same images and information at the same time, as they sort, mix and expand on ideas.
Helping other companies get creative
Jim uses his Nureva Wall with his clients when they drop in to review concepts and brainstorm new ideas. They’re able to view all the concepts on one canvas, add comments and take a pdf of the design work with them when they leave. JMP has also started sharing its unique brainstorming techniques with other companies that want to learn how to elevate their own creative thinking.
In the coming years, Jim plans to build a new facility and ramp up the company’s focus on inventing new products, developing successful campaigns and finding new and better ways to collaborate with clients and partners. He calls the system JMP’s “new wall of ideas” and considers it a key part of its high-energy creative process.
“The Nureva Wall is there to help us create new ideas, and I’m sure there is a billion dollars’ worth of ideas that are going to be coming off it.”
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Posted on May 1, 2017, 4:00:00 PM