June 1, 2011
Ideas. Panic? Or sex?
Where do ideas come from?
Lets start with the problem. If we have a clear indication of the business objective and a good brief, then we can start.
Good we have our focus. We can take two routes.
Here’s how Route 1 works.
You set off daydreaming. Doodling. Scanning blogs. Musing through awards annuals.
Coffee and cigs, the usual stimuli.
Then – “I’ll tweet that link so everyone will think I’m dead smart. Ooooh holiday snaps on facebook.”
Meanwhile, the deadline’s little footsteps are stalking you. Somewhere in the back of your mind a little ball of anxiety starts to take shape.
Idea… Idea… Nah. A scribble. A half thought…
No. You’re not ready yet, little brain… More research. One show annuals!
Deadline gets even closer. Oh baby, you hear it now! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!
Here it comes. “That meeting is tomorrow afternoon.”
And finally we have the missing ingredient.
Terror pushes us faster and the deadline is now rumbling down on us like that giant rock in Indiana Jones.
Your mind goes into paroxysms of creativity. References come from every dusty box in every forgotten corner of your mind. A Rolodex of ideas, layouts, copy, and photography flicks past your minds eye on fast-forward.
Shit shit shit shit!… Bang.
You find something. Panic is gooooood. Thank you panic.
And here’s how route 2 works.
Write the problem down and stick it somewhere you can see it. This will help you keep your focus.
Next thing is to figure out if you are a morning person or an evening person.
What time of the day do you actually get things done?
This is your ‘do time’. Use it.
If you are a writer this is the time you write. Art? This is the time you draw.
Quick sketches. No Photoshop! If you spend ages in Photoshop you’ll marry yourself to that particular idea even if it’s wrong – Because you’ve invested time in it.
The key is to be prolific.
Don’t have one idea. Have many.
Don’t think about it just get it down. And get as much done as possible in your ‘do time’.
Draw. Write. Clean clear black marker sketches. One page of a layout pad for every idea – Layout pads are cheap. Ideas are priceless.
Try not to judge or argue – get stuff out of you with abandon. Remain ambivalent.
The good stuff is about to happen.
Put all your thoughts on the floor. Fill the floor.
Take all these crazy, nonsensical, strange, fantastical concepts and mix them in with all the other ideas from your colleagues.
Mash them up. Pair the best ones off. Use these thoughts to generate newer ones.
This is when ideas have sex.
This is when being creative gets really exciting.
Now you can care. Now you can craft the copy. Now you can spend time in Photoshop.
Now you have more than one idea.
It thinks it’s a fantastic way to innovate to make something different.
Maybe we should be encouraging our creatives to be more prolific – Rather than putting pressure on them to have a brilliant idea.
Just a thought.
Love this presentation by Steven Johnson.
And thanks to Bernard for this gem. (Eeeeew)