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Creative Swap offers skills-switch

Creative Swap is offering you the chance to switch creative skills for a week. The event is asking agencies to sign up and swap a member of staff with someone in another studio, the aim being to enable a number of people to immerse themselves in unfamiliar fields and/or environments. Swapping pairs will be chosen randomly and the event will take place during September 24–28.

Alan Long (AL), creative director at Sane & Able, the company behind the scheme, spoke to .net about its origins and how it will benefit those in the field of web design and development.

.net: What is the thinking behind Creative Swap? How did you come up with the idea?
AL: I have a group of friends working in the creative sector, in different areas and at different levels. From talking with them, I have found over time a type of fatigue sets in. They start to handle the same projects and are surrounded by the same people. The longer this goes on the less they look outside of this comfort zone.

Creative Swap wants to shake this up. After all, to be creative you need to take on as much inspiration as possible and from as far afield as you can. It's easy as a web designer to mainly seek inspiration from other websites and digital mediums but this could eventually mean churning out the same things and creating nothing new. What Creative Swap does is move people out of their comfort zones into similar environments but with enough differences: different people and even different process and clients.

.net: Isn't there a danger companies will be reluctant to enable people to see what makes them tick?
AL: I think there is no 'secret formula' for being creative, and so I don't see why we should not be more open as companies and share resources and knowledge. By swapping a creative staff member with another, you never know what you will learn from each other – this really is a two-way relationship.

.net: How do you think those in the web industry could specifically benefit from Creative Swap?
AL: When you're working in the web industry, whether in design or development, a large portion of your time is spent in front of a computer, and this naturally leads to seeking inspiration and ideas from the digital world. We want to make people stand back and look at the processes, ways they generate ideas and even how they problem solve on a daily basis. By swapping into another creative company for five days, you will naturally need to challenge your processes through working with new people, find ways to problem solve with them and also learn and share.

.net: Is there any particular discipline you'd like to immerse yourself in if you were a creative being swapped?
AL: I've always been interested in architecture but it's not the easiest field to just walk into! Unfortunately, I doubt someone will let me build something with out a little more experience, but it would be great to see how my design background, aesthetic eye and experience could influence an architectural process – and even how it would make me approach 2D design differently.

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