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Warm up your creativity with the Pop Up Agency

Shake off those January cobwebs with three quick exercises from the nomadic creative agency

created on Friday 6 Jan 2017

Since it was founded in 2012, the Pop Up Agency has helped everyone from Coca-Cola, Facebook and Adidas to YSL and Spotify be more creative. Now founders Abraham Abbi Asefaw and Maksimilian Kallhed share a few of the ways they kick-start the creative process.


"This is a great, simple exercise for groups of all levels at any point in a workshop. It should generate a broad range of ideas."

1. Create three stations in the room: shock, innovate and inspire

2. Introduce each station: Shock = controversial, viral worthy, divides the nation. Innovate = groundbreaking, Steve Jobs would be proud. Inspire = does good in the world, heart-warming

3. Split the group into three groups and assign them to a section

4. Each group has three minutes to come up with as many ideas as they can to answer the brief, using their section’s rule

5. When the times up, rotate in a new section

6. Continue until everyone has worked in each station

7. Then everyone walks around each station to share all of the ideas

Golden Rules

"When working on a brief in a team, there are a few different problems that can interfere with success. But here are some ideas that can get rid of these problem. Use them before the creative process even starts, to ensure that the time on is used in the best way."

1. Define what you aim to achieve with the creative process, to make the journey to achieving it easier.

2. Align the team by collectively outlining your aims in a way that will utilise everyone’s skills.

3. Set out a clear timeline of goals and when they should be achieved to generate faster results.

4. Don’t force anything, if you are having difficulties, take a break to re-energize and clear your mind before tackling your problem again.

5. Be more active and ensure that verbal communication is focused on creating a solution, grab some post-its and get your hands dirty.

6. Keep it simple and strip away any unnecessary additions to your ideas to find the core message you are looking for.

7. Ensure that everyone is fully invested in the solving of the brief for best results.

8. Don’t focus on the details, look at the bigger picture by answering the core questions first and adding details later.


"This a great method for quickly coming up with well-rounded ideas. As you are doing three different 'internal' ideations you will have a large spectrum of ideas before even creating the big one."

1. Divide the ideation space into the three different areas: Mind, Heart and Hand

2. Individually take two minutes to ideate on Mind, asking what makes it logical and sensible?

3. Continue with Heart and consider what makes it emotionally engaging?

4. And finally Hand, where you think about what makes it tangible and practical?

5. When the times up, put the ideas on one piece of A3-paper each and categorise them in the three different sections.

6. As a team, take a minute to look through what you all have come up with.

7. Individually, take one idea from each category to create a well-rounded idea.

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