Kids, Cartoons, And Breaking Down Creative Barriers   | V by Viacom


Kids, Cartoons, And Breaking Down Creative Barriers  

Nickelodeon wants collaboration and creativity to rule at its new West Coast facility.

Mar 15, 2017

The concept of collaboration is simple. But the execution of it? That can often be much more complex, specifically when it involves a push for creativity without boundaries. How do you bring people together in an organic way that doesn’t feel forced, in order to drive everyone toward a unified goal?

With these issues in mind, Nickelodeon started to examine how it could house its multiple teams that were spread across Los Angeles into a single location that would support everyone’s work to the fullest, while serving as a major brand statement to the larger creative community. The idea became a campus—built from the ground up—that functioned equally as a work space and artists’ retreat, seeding new introductions, and fostering fresh collaborations and breakthrough ideas.

And the final result? A 200,000-plus square-foot, state-of-the-art, sustainable complex, which is now home to more than 700 Nickelodeon employees and over 20 show productions. Nickelodeon’s new campus fully reflects the brand’s sensibility, outfitted with art and installations, chalk and dry-erase walls, and unique office and meetings spaces—all designed to inspire and support creativity, community, and a collaborative environment.

“Since we first planted our flag on the West Coast in the early ’90s, Nickelodeon in Burbank has been a beacon to the creative community,” explains Cyma Zarghami, president of Nickelodeon Group. “We are ushering in a new era of creative excellence and increased collaboration for everyone who works here.”

Studied by social psychologists since the late 1940s, the idea of modern-day collaboration is rooted in the notion that people initially become friends and form partnerships through shared proximity, which later gives way to shared values and interests. And while the idea of creative collaboration is something other brands are exploring in various ways (the Google Garage and Zappos’ holocracy management structure have both garnered major press recently) Nickelodeon’s approach leans more toward the idea of rethinking how people come together and develop a “creator-driven” environment in partnership with one another.

From Meetings to Meet-ups

At Nick’s new facility, “in progress” is more than a line item on a weekly to-do list; it’s an open invitation to share and collaborate. As each of the five floors in the new building features a trellised working gallery, teams are invited to display ongoing projects and hold impromptu breakout sessions to discuss and dissect everything from new projects in development to new animation technologies on the horizon.

Recognizing the importance of having non-traditional meeting areas, the new building is equipped with a music and game room, exercise and meditation rooms, an arcade, two makers labs, and an outdoor courtyard equipped with A/V capabilities. By providing multiple outlets for group meet-ups, Nickelodeon is empowering its teams to use fun to fuel inspiration and engagement.

Celebrating Talent from the Inside Out

For millions of fans around the world, Nickelodeon’s animated characters are beloved, but behind the scenes, the creative teams are the ones being celebrated. With framed caricatures and portraits of each of the show creators on the studio’s website and in the office, along with stone benches etched with creators’ artwork and quotes, the message is clear: Fostering a commitment to talent starts from within.

Zarghami agrees. By fostering collaboration and creativity, Nickelodeon creates a positive work culture that “gives our creators and employees the very best environment and resources to be successful. We wanted to give them what they needed to work and to enjoy themselves when they came to work every day.”