Average ideas await, and are recycled, in the parameters of everyday thinking. It is the stretching of the mind; the curiosity of the ‘impossible’ and the awareness of the people's experience that has served me best in creative marketing. Specifically in my education and marketing my own personal brand to employers. Rewind to University and I’m in one of my first lectures, “Only 10% of you will make it in the Media industry” says the speaker, and from that moment I wondered how I could make the impossible belief of succeeding in that 10% a possibility.
Creativity has always been that answer: putting a great idea and a great experience at the forefront of every action I did. You see, I didn’t want an idea to just check the box, getting me a good enough grade, that’s not what I was at University for, I wanted to go the extra mile. And where others feared to tread in creativity I strode right on through. Choosing to fight for crazy ideas (that worked) and following my creative gut.
Creative thinking and empathising with the people on the receiving end has enabled me to get many a job, a new connection, an open door. It is the passion for a-wacky-hat-in-a-busy-crowd kind of thinking, emotional intelligence, and courage to be myself (no matter what anyone else says) that has enabled me to create a place where good ideas come from.
So, here’s my guide on where good ideas come from. A whole 5 ways on practising creative thinking and welcoming new ideas into your business.
Firstly, 1. A Curious mind
We all have one in our business, a curious mind, courageous in questioning and creative in thinking. More often than not, these minds may experience rolling eyes because they think differently and sometimes different isn’t always welcome. BUT, it is the innovative mind that helps keep businesses moving forward. Everyday something is evolving, changing and to silence curiosity within your business would be your worst call. Creative minds make things happen, turning the simplest of ideas into fully formed concepts, concepts your less curious and creatively-strong minds may not have conjured. Because their minds work differently. All minds work differently. So, welcome questioning curiosity within your team, give it a seat at the table, and ideas will surely follow.
2. Awareness of the audience and their experience
Having an awareness of the majority, the minority, in all cultures, and the way in which each of us come to experience the world means good ideas can form out of a broad understanding of humans and not just our creative egos. For instance, it is suggested that we experience the world in four unique ways, the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. Great ideas therefore need to consider the experience within the idea so that it is received in the way we wish it to.
Awareness of your audience is therefore important in conjuring ideas that meet people’s communicative needs.
What I would also say here is that audience research and awareness shows you where the lines may be drawn with certain ideas. However, always use this as a guide as success can often lie in unexplored places, that even your audience may not have ventured to. So, be aware of your audience and their experience of your idea and brand. An unhappy customer is known to cause way more damage than a happy one.
3. A safe environment free of judgment
Creativity must have an environment free of judgement and restrictions to flow. Which is why I never agreed, in my previous employment, when people would ‘play the devil’s advocate’ in a brainstorm, blocking every idea before it had the opportunity to wriggle out of its cocoon.
First, we need to allow creativity and our ideas to find its rightful place on a board or sheet of paper THEN when it comes to whittling down and exploring the concepts further can you start to explore (not question) the ideas further.
Creativity needs trust, time, care, security and freedom to fly out of us willingly, without the expectation of ‘something good’ coming from it because pressure can often stifle creative thinking. Why else do ideas come to us in the most random of occasions (i.e, the shower). This leads us nicely onto…
4. Brainstorm Inceptions
A brainstorm is a spontaneous act to conjure ideas for a particular project and/or problem however creativity in all of us requires something different to emerge which is why I believe the best ideas come out of brainstorm inceptions. Brainstorms before, during and after brainstorms, giving projects a great portion of time to be explored, consciously and unconsciously. For example, has an idea ever came to you when you weren’t knowingly thinking of the project? Most probably.
Brainstorm slots alone can also create a sense of urgency, pressure, restraint which some people may or may not prefer. So, I would say consider a Brainstorm inception day where your head is allowed to brainstorm both in the subconscious and conscious. For example, encourage your staff to have a solo brainstorm with their own thoughts, then have a designated whiteboard for the next 24 hours in the office that people can add to over the course of the day. The next morning people can then subconsciously think and sleep on their concepts ready to talk about their thoughts the next day, giving ideas to form with creative flexibility as our environments and mental performance changes across the span of 24 hours. Me, I always brainstorm before a brainstorm as my mind works a lot quicker in my own head and on paper than in a spontaneous meeting.
5. Within other great ideas and less great ideas
Allow yourself to be inspired by other great ideas. This can often give us a creativity benchmark within our industry and audiences, assessing where ideas have tread before us.
Sometimes two average ideas can even make a great idea. So, it’s not always the singular idea itself that will achieve greatness, it is the combination of various concepts that can make up a singular good idea. This promotes the fact that ideas aren’t born out of us already formed, they take time to construct and mould to our audience, business, and vision. And moulding those ideas to our business is vital to creating true and authentic relationships with our customers and the world around us. I’ve had many a company mimic my ideas, for example (haven't we all!) and it’s not a great feeling.
However, as a creative and brand consultant, I would say that to lead the creative way where others follow is surely a success. Yes. But, if you were my client I would encourage you to find and evolve ideas with your own unique twist to them, questioning why you would like to adopt this concept for your business and marketing. Ideas aren’t a one size fits all solution.
It looks like I’ve taken up plenty of your time so far, thank you for reading.
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