Lessons from Sapient Nitro – By @EdwinaKhayat & @BeaaaBergman

Edwina KhayatBea Bergman

By Edwina Khayat and Bea Bergman


Lessons from Sapient Nitro

Sapient Nitro invited a bunch of us in for a workshop.

It wasn’t a ‘we’re out of ideas/resources for this brief, let’s get students in to see if they can solve it’ kind of workshop.

They had really thought it through.

‘Make people understand what an APR is while entertaining them’ 

Tough brief. Especially when you walked into the room not knowing what an APR was.

Placement teams and juniors get the briefs no one else wants to come close to.

But every brief is an opportunity.

A boring brief with low expectations is a brief full of opportunities.

The traditional model of agencies is breaking down. Collaborate with everyone, it keeps the thinking fresh.

And it’s all about the thinking, which is then applied to traditional or digital executions.

Don’t do digital for the sake of doing digital. Everything has to have a reason. Like being invited to a digital agency to work on a brief that wasn’t digital. 

We had a go at coming up with ideas, and presented them back to each other.

Loads of good stuff.

Suddenly, a twist.

Take someone else’s idea and push it. Add value to it.


Because you don’t get to pick in agencies.

You might inherit someone else’s baby.

The client might have already half-bought an idea.

Someone is sick. Or on holiday.

But you get to show off how you can take something on and make it come alive.

So we went off and tried to make something out of someone else’s baby.

We were set up to fail, and we did.

Some of us fell into the trap of coming up with new ideas. 

One team didn’t recognise that the idea they took on was ‘almost there’ and cluttered it when they tried to push it.

Another team inherited an idea that was far from done, and managed to find the core idea. The problem was that they didn’t realise they had found it.

We were set up, but we didn’t feel wronged.

The feedback wasn’t harsh, it was justified.

The whole exercise started to make sense.

You don’t know what the mistakes are until you’ve made them.

It made us realise what kind of creative directors we want to work with.

It’s easy to dismiss juniors, or send them off to work harder and longer on a brief.

Being a teacher and a mentor is a whole other business.

It takes time and effort.

It’s what makes good leaders great.

It’s what inspires us beginners.

We’re very grateful to Sapient for giving us the opportunity to work with them for a morning.  

Last few bits and pieces of advice and learning:

Answering a brief in an exciting way is better than a big idea that doesn’t answer the brief.

Have a simple solution executed brilliantly.

Be positive about it and have fun.

Stress test your idea and always bring it back to the brief.

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