5 sessions from the 2020 IHAF Conference to help boost creativity and foster agility

This month's IHAF annual conference — "Creativity Unleashed" — offered incredible insights on how to bring more creativity to your work processes. Here are the five sessions we found invaluable.

5 sessions from the 2020 IHAF Conference to help boost creativity and foster agility

Stensul's team is always on the lookout for more ways to be creative, not only in our work but also how we approach our work and tackle challenges. When we found out IHAF's (In-House Agency Forum) annual conference was going to be centered on creativity — or as IHAF put it, "the skills, strategies, practices and perspectives in-house agencies need to breed collective creativity" — we knew we wanted to be part of it. Not only were we a sponsor, we listened and took notes throughout the three-day virtual event. 

If you missed the conference, IHAF members can now listen to the recorded sessions on the IHAF's site. Here are the top five we can't stop talking about. 

1. "Made you Look!" Presented by Teresa Sausville, Executive Director at Nestlé Purina

In this session, Sausville talks about how Nestlé Purina's in-house agency convinced the brand to take a fresh look at how campaigns are conceived and produced: "It takes courage to push for change, especially when changing the underlying belief system of an entire organization. By partnering in new ways across the agency as well as with key influencers and work groups company wide, this team overcame barriers to connectivity while opening doors to creativity—proving once and for all that fresh thinking and creative insight can come from within!"

2. "The Human Element" Presented by Kristin Licata, Senior Director of Marketing Operations at Quicken Loans

Licata's IHAF session speaks to all the ways Quicken Loans' in-house agency helps drive creative thinking among team members: "How do you assess the ROI of creativity? And, by that we mean creativity that transforms ideas into experiences. Let’s talk about investing in people to help drive better work, more-impactful creative and increased success for the business overall. In this lively session, you’ll hear how the ambitious in-house agency at Quicken Loans fuels its creative thinking—igniting talent to consistently deliver solutions that positively impact the business."

3. "The Intersection of Data and Design" Presented by Ananta Engineer, Senior Director of Insights and Planning at Post Consumer Brands

With a background in market research, consumer insights, marketing strategy and integrated planning, Engineer's session ties together data, analytics and insights with creativity: "When you think about data, analytics and insights, the word 'creativity' may not instinctively come to mind. Yet, some of the most innovative ideas and creative campaigns were born from discernment gleaned by getting closer to and smarter about the end consumer. This session affords a deeper understanding of the benefits that come from pairing the insights function and creative function within corporate marketing. It also explores the inherent complement (and contrast) between the two, with examples of how embracing the empirical can inform and encourage creative breakthroughs at multiple points in the project process."

4. "Stretch to Reach New Levels" Presented by Michelle Schoening, Head of Creative Services and UX Development, Marketing at Navy Federal Credit Union

Schoening's session was all about using "stretch projects" to get out of our comfort zone and reach greater professional heights as a team: "When we get comfortable, we get complacent, which means we often stop growing. Although it can be daunting, stretch goals and projects are the driving force behind breaking through those static states that often lead to mediocrity. In this session, we’ll hear how embarking on a stretch project can build your confidence, expand your capabilities and foster a culture of (calculated) risk-taking that can keep you and your in-house agency moving forward." 

5. "Where Agility Meets Creativity" Presented by Francine Feder, VP of marketing Communications North America at Foot Locker

We are big fans of agility around here, so we weren't going to miss Feder's session discussing how Foot Locker's content team maintains a fast-pace while serving multiple store brands: "As part of a youth-culture brand, the content team at Foot Locker is required to be faster and nimbler than most—with their finger on the pulse of what’s current when it comes to creative innovation and culture. Maintaining that pace takes stamina; it also takes dedication to the four A’s: Authenticity, Agility, Artistry and Always On. While Foot Locker is their focus, as part of a matrixed organization, this in-house agency also partners with the company’s other store brands—emerging as a leader by producing best-in-class work."

From the events they host to the resources they provide, IHAF is a phenomenal professional organization for anyone part of an in-house agency team. If you're not a member yet, it's worth taking a moment to dig into all they offer— including this year's annual conference sessions. 

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