Iris Germany Portfolio Slam

Oh, what a night it was. If you weren’t there, this was an evening event that I put together where all us humble creatives working under the Iris Munich auspices took over the studio and shared their work for the delight and delectation of the other departments plus the odd member of cleaning staff.

The order of proceedings was simple: each creative set up a display featuring 3 projects that they felt exhibited their best work; each person attending the event then went around the displays and voted for the project that they felt was the best project from the 3 on show.

The final part of the event was a ‘Hot Seat’ session where all of the creatives answered some pertinent questions on their winning project, drawn from a shortlist of incredibly varied work that had been collectively judged as being the best of the best.

But why did we bother?

Extracurricular activities are a lot of work when they have to be organised outside of daily business, so why was it worth it?

Obviously, it was an excuse to drink beer, eat pizza and talk general nonsense but there were a couple of more serious, defined objectives. Which were, as follows:

To establish for the studio where the Creative Bar lies today, not by showing other peoples work but through all the good stuff that has been created by the people in-house.

To ensure that everyone in the company knows the type of work each of us is capable of – to ensure the right people are working on the right type of projects, so that we can improve our output by simply loving what we do.

To function as a test bed for the future. Perhaps we can hold this type of event to expose ourselves to a wider, external audience – current clients/dream clients/press & PR etc etc.

Let’s unpack this a little

It’s very easy to fall into the trap of always looking externally and assessing ourselves against other peoples work and other peoples standards.

Of course, its good to take reference on trends in the industry but when you start to think about it, it’s pretty weird to always judge ones work against work that we don’t really know any details.

Instead, I wanted to encourage colleagues to judge their future output against work that resonated with them and work of which they knew all the ins and outs about. And what better than stuff that we had collectively produced ourselves?

With that in mind, the most interesting finding from the evening was that all the work that was voted for turned out to be:

• Pro-active

• Self-led

• Or took an askew view of a client brief

This is important to note as it means that they all inherently had an agenda, whether it might be personal expression or trying to push some boundaries. What they weren’t were just unengaged brief execution.

Because of that, all the work had certain common features and achieved a certain set of collective principles, principles that can now be applied to test the output of our next project against.

I am calling these principles the studio Creative Bar.

According to us then, the very best creative project should be:

• Beautifully composed

• Pushing its medium

• Innovative, intelligent and free-thinking

• Informed, aware and challenging

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