Having begun the week feeling excited and nervous about what to expect from our first week at SCA, I walked away on Friday feeling both motivated and inspired by all the information, stories and new insights that we have had to absorb in such a short space of time. It has taken a while to let it all sink in. There is no doubt that that upcoming year will have its challenges but as Marc has reiterated time and time again over the week — hard work beats talent.
I think the best way to describe our first week at SCA was similar to Marc’s analogy of being like a ‘squirrel,’ in the four days we have been at the school I have found that we have already started collecting and storing, both stories and theories from various fields of knowledge that will, in turn, enhance how we approach and execute work.
For me, the highlights of the week included finally meeting everyone. Having been gently introduced to the year through their blog posts over the summer, it was great to exchange stories and connect the names to faces. One aspect that surprised and inspired me was the amount of the interesting projects and passions that everyone seems to be involved in. After many of the conversations, I found myself walking away thinking about the projects and hobbies that I have drifted away from recently, but would like to revisit. As Marc said on the first day, so much of how we create work is influenced by the knowledge that we both experience and receive.
Another important takeaway from the week was never to turn down a brief, as reiterated, showing up is half the battle. The first application of this mantra in some way came to me during the second day at SCA when I looked at the calendar and saw the words – Poetry and Improv. The idea of being made to perform filled me with dread. But, again, similar to everything else this week, it turned out to defy my expectations and actually be both constructive and a lot of fun. From poetry, I had initially thought that being made to sit and write would leave me staring at a blank piece of paper, but I found that by letting go of my inhibitions about structuring and content the free writing task turned out to provide a new and valuable tool in helping transform my thoughts into tangible ideas.
Additionally, I was also pleasantly surprised by Improv, particularly the exercise of storytelling with the two connecting terms, ‘yes, and’ and ‘no but’. As we collaboratively began to experiment with the terms and structure stories, it was quick to see how these simple words affected the content and scope. With ‘yes, and’ you found stories getting more imaginative and extending further, whereas the use of ‘no, but’ felt immediately limiting, only focusing on defending each previous comment.
Another takeaway from the week came from the agency visits. It was great to be able to visit each agency and meet some of the teams, who kindly showed us around and took us through some of their work and processes. But as I went back over my notes, I realized that as they had been talking I had written down a series of questions, but hadn’t had the courage to speak up and ask, and as a result, many of them had been left unanswered. This is something that I need to work on, as we had been told on the first day ‘treat every day like an interview.’ This will be a goal for the week ahead.