Three Lyons Creative Learns with HFLI from Behind the Lens

By Lucia Wylie-Eggert, New Business + Creative Strategy at Three Lyons Creative

Three Lyons Creative is a thinking company. As a creative firm, it is our responsibility to approach video production in a novel and innovative way. We recently filmed two seminars put on by HFLI: the first aimed at teachers and educators, and the second in the form of a summer camp in which kids experience going through the Design Thinking process. (We also created this video!) While filming, we couldn’t help but absorb what was being taught and see the benefits it could bring to anyone engaged in creative thinking.

For us, the biggest benefit of Design Thinking is that it offers excellent strategies for group thinking. One of the most exciting and challenging aspects of video production is its foundation in collaboration. There are simply too many tasks and considerations for any one person to do.

This collaboration impacts how decisions are made, especially in pre-production (concept development, scripting, storyboarding, etc.). Each person involved in the process could hold a key insight or radical way of approaching a problem that moves the whole project forward. We learned that Design Thinking works the same way. It needs many minds simultaneously processing ideas to be able to bring different points of view, and ultimately, a novel approach.

We enthusiastically applied what we learned to our own creative process. So far, Three Lyons Creative has used more specific rules regarding the atmosphere of brainstorming. Some of the rules include:

1. Deferring judgement
2. Encouraging wild ideas
3. Building on each other’s ideas
4. Aiming for quantity

The rules protect each person’s creative freedom and allow more free thinking. The results have been exciting! We are able to step further out of the box and explore a greater breadth of possible solutions. It is not our instinct to impose rules on brainstorms—or anything for that matter. However this is an essential exception.

Another tool we’ve applied from HFLI is the use of sticky notes. Previously, we appointed someone to transcribe the ideas thrown out by the group to a large paper pad or whiteboard.

This has a few problems:

1. It often stifles the creativity of the person who is writing the ideas down. Instead of generating ideas, they are resigned to writing as fast as possible.
2. They become an idea gatekeeper, constantly being put in the position of picking whose ideas to write down first, and determining duplicate ideas.
3. It limits the bandwidth of recorded ideas. One person can only write so fast, so the writing speed limits the idea generation.

Sticky notes solve all of these problems. Everyone can participate equally. There is no gatekeeper—everyone makes stickies and puts them on the board. The pace is increased—everyone can think something up and immediately record it, which removes the bandwidth cap.

Our next challenge will be to appropriately apply the “prototyping” phase of Design Thinking. We have tried individually drawing storyboard frames and writing treatments to be organized together. Neither created the tangible satisfaction of working with a physical product. We believe our future is to include prototyping with true video. We have a few obstacles to overcome before that point but once we are able to implement an accessible, rapid video creation process for prototyping, our pre-production workflow will be faster, more collaborative, and result in more insightful media.

We have gleaned a lot about HFLI’s Design Thinking process just listening from behind the camera. This process clearly has a wide range of applications across industries, including ours. We are thrilled with the impact it has had on our creative process, and will keep learning from it as we go.

About Three Lyons Creative
Three Lyons Creative (3LC) is a multimedia production company based in Detroit, specializing in video, audio, graphic design, and illustration. Through community groups, artists, nonprofits, and businesses both large and small, 3LC strives to tell honest and people-focused stories with pride. For more information, visit or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Vimeo.

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