Driving Alignment Through an Open Creative Process with Dropbox

by Elissa Dunn Scott

posted on 10-06-2017

This post was submitted by Dropbox, a 2017 MAX partner. We’d like to thank all our 2017 MAX partners who help make the conference possible.

Today’s creative teams are made up of a fluid workforce: freelancers, vendors, agencies, and cross-functional in-house teams. We’re varied, multidisciplinary, and scattered across continents. And that makes it harder than ever to keep everyone on the same page. At Dropbox, we believe one of the best ways to keep teams in sync and bring ideas to life is through transparency.

In the Dropbox Brand Studio, our teams are made up of graphic designers, web designers, illustrators, producers, strategists, and creative writers. We define the visual identity system and voice for the brand. We produce creative for product launches and marketing campaigns. And we collaborate with product teams to name and add personality to the product.

Ultimately, we help keep people aligned by leading creative processes that unite work between many different teams—Marketing, Product, Communications, Sales—along with our network of agencies, vendors, and freelancers. We use creative strategy and production to build the bridges that connect these teams. These processes help us tell a meaningful story about our company.

The way we work isn’t working

Now that new technology lets us collaborate with people around the world, our teams have never been more distributed. We’re in different departments, working from different offices, across different time zones. This new way of working is especially challenging for those of us in Marketing and Design. We’re working at a breakneck pace, and churning out high volumes of content that needs to break through all of the noise and high filters of audiences today.

Everyone needs space to create their best work, yet we want our collaborators to get involved early on to make sure we’re creating the right thing. We want to show polished and refined work—but people want to be a part of the process. So how do we find a balance?

With so many projects going on at once, between many different departments and teams, we need to make sure that everyone is having the same conversation at the same time. And in the process, we need to build trusted relationships.

Embracing transparency throughout the creative process

As challenging as it can be, the best way to work collaboratively is to embrace transparency. Working transparently makes people more engaged and accountable. It shows people you’re willing to figure out problems with everyone on the team. And it removes ego by encouraging people to work together and share the responsibility of bringing a project to life.

We spend a lot of time thinking about this at Dropbox. Our mission is to simplify the way people work together. We started in 2007 with the idea that life would be a lot better if people could move their stuff into the cloud and access it from anywhere, on any device. Since then, we’ve made major progress. And we’ve discovered that for a lot of our users, sharing and collaborating on Dropbox was even more valuable than providing storage. So we’ve made a commitment to expand our focus from keeping files in sync to keeping teams in sync.

New collaboration tools that unleash your team’s creative energy

Our customers have given us tremendous insights about the challenges of teamwork. We’ve studied what hinders the creative process and examined what highly successful teams do well. And we use this insight not only to build new tools that help teams unleash their creative energy, but to improve how we work together.

It’s still a work in progress, but we’re committed as a company to address the underlying problems designers, writers, artists, and marketers face. To start, we’ve created a culture that embraces transparency and offers a safe place to create, without judgment. And we’ve developed new technologies like Dropbox Paper, that bring focus and flow to your work — facilitating team transparency and driving alignment.

At Adobe MAX, Dropbox’s own Collin Whitehead and Aaron Robbs will share from their experiences and explore these topics during the session, ‘Transparent Teams: Driving Alignment Through an Open Creative Process,’ on Wednesday, Oct. 18 at 3:30pm. Don’t miss out on this engaging discussion – register now before the session sells out.

Topics: Creative Inspiration & Trends