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The LAB - the new creative heart of VO Group by Audrey

24 December 2018

The VO Group is fine-tuning a tool that will see it throw away the rule book and boost creativity in the projects entrusted to it. This tool is the LAB, and it will not only improve the way the teams “think” things but also the way they “make” things. It implies a new attitude to foster more collective intelligence, greater meaning and better ideas in the interests of the customer and his event.

Following a year of testing, the LAB will become 100% operational in January 2019. An additional service to offer to customers, this reflection tool will be at the service of every entity in the group. The aim is to unite the teams around strong positioning, to be remarkable yet make sense, to be attractive through expertise and strong values.

Towards the end of this year we held 30 Lab test sessions, four of which were with external clients. The lab now boasts a database of more than 120 external contributors, a third of whom have already taken part in one or more sessions. 13% of them have donated their fee to the charities Infirmiers de rue and Be Planet.

Since it was launched in test mode in March 2018, the VO Lab has seen significant demand in the institutional sector on the topics of sustainable transport, Brussels’ appeal as a city, and the reorganisation of a European Commission DG. The brainstorming approach helped the teams broaden the scope in terms of positioning and identity, both for the internal agencies and their clients. The Drohme project has also benefited from the Lab process, seeking new ideas for sustainable activities. This proved a wonderful opportunity to establish long-term practices and once again reinforce the VO Group’s commitment to corporate social responsibility.

So what exactly is the LAB?

The LAB is... an accelerator for creativity

The LAB is a creative process activated between the customer briefing and the recommendation submitted by VO. This process is split into two phases.

  1. Analyse and clarify the customer’s request to determine which part of the project VO will and should focus its creative work on. This objective enables the project leader to formulate one or two clear questions to which he/she needs specific creative answers by the end of the second phase.
  2. Improved brainstorming. The original element of this central, essential phase lies in the panel of experts that serve as a think tank. In addition to the session facilitator and VO in-house staff, other external individuals, related to or specialised in the subject or sector being addressed, are also invited. For example, a sociologist will help to understand behavioural changes related to mobility; a linguist and a comedian will be able to bring their offbeat or even disruptive approach into the brainstorming surrounding a name for a law firm. This particularly creative opening up of skills is implemented within a defined framework, conducive to accentuating collective intelligence. The precise timing and the dynamic of speaking in a circle encourage listening, solidarity and support around a common project and constructive ideas, for more enriched, thoughtful and creative appreciation.

The LAB is... an enhancer for customer relations

From January, the LAB will be an additional service with double-plus value for our customers. They will be able to participate in the LAB sessions concerning their project, if they want, and become its co-creator! It is an effective tool that enables us to involve the customer in our reflection, so we can think out of the box together.

Even better, the LAB tool expands the scope of activity for VO. In addition to our "make" services as a communications and event agency, this new "think" instrument is also capable of carrying out pure consultancy missions for the customer, concerning his positioning, his identity or a major "change".

The LAB is... a new attitude

In-house, the LAB's ambition is to foster and embody a new attitude, a new holistic entrepreneurial spirit. By implementing this collective intelligence reflex, VO increases its chances of obtaining new motivating - and ethical - projects. This is in line with the values we inject into our project design and the ideas we develop and, in turn, our dealings with customers and suppliers.

The LAB aims to be the template for this value-added approach. Success depends on our human capital, starting with the project leaders, whose work in the field can only be shored up by strong involvement in this new systematic and organised thinking. The LAB enables us to reinvent ourselves. That’s the VO spirit - are you LAB?

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