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July 26, 2018No Comments

Graph: Creativity vs Discomfort

We all need to constantly be reminded of this one simple fact, even if creativity is our daily job. Even walking in every day with the mission to create can become comfortable – and that's something professional creatives need to watch out for. We may fall into the trap that is believing that if we come in, learn the ropes, rinse and repeat we'll be creative forever. Comfortably.

That's far from the truth. Because creativity requires discomfort.

I like to define creativity as the act of using your imagination to bring into the world something that wasn't there before. I stress the last bit that refers to originality – because if you make something that already exists, you're not being creative, are you?

creativity vs discomfort chart

Chart: Well, there is such thing as "too much discomfort". Try to find the sweet spot, not the point of no return.

Originality is an absolute pre-requisite for creativity, because creativity lies only in what didn't exist before you created it.

And that's the crux of my point with discomfort and creativity. Read more

March 13, 2018No Comments

The Brainstorm Is Not Dead

There's a lot of buzz around brainstorming not being a thing anymore. This Forbes article is but one of many debunking the myth of brainstorming being great for coming up with ideas. But guess what? 70 years later, brainstorming is still around. And for one reason:

It has a very cool name.

Alex Osborn, the man who invented brainstorming, didn’t get everything right, but the name “brainstorm” was certainly a home run.

alex osborn

Alex Osborn, the father of Brainstorming, asking for ideas over the phone.

Since the late 40’s when Osborn – who happens to be the “O” in BBDO – gave brainstorming to the world, his creation has been scrutinized, debunked, evolved, changed and re-adapted. The brainstorming techniques used today by IDEO and other creative companies are so different from Osborn’s original process they should not be called brainstorms. Yet, they are, because no one wants to let go of that supercool name.

Would you rather tell your wife/husband when you get home that you took part in a “brainstorm", or in a group idea-generating session?

“Brainstorm" for me, any day of the week, please.

Many articles today that debunk brainstorming still take as reference Osborn’s model, which was flawed. There's plenty of science out there to prove it. Many better ways to come up with ideas are at our disposal. Heck, telling everyone just to have ideas on their own works better than Osborn's brainstorm. Yet, it was the starting point to all the knowledge we have today on idea-generating. Fact is, nowadays, "brainstorming" has come to mean "generating ideas" – either in group settings or individually. To which there are many different techniques – some of them have nothing to do with the original brainstorming from the 40s.

Osborn got a few things right, though, besides naming it “brainstorm”. Here are my 3 favorites: Read more

January 17, 2018No Comments

Like germs to Purell: 99.9% of ideas get killed

Ask any professional creative: The fact is that the vast majority of our ideas end up in the trash.

This reminded me of Purell and its famous tagline: Purell. Kills more than 99.9% of germs.

That's about the same amount of ideas that get killed by CDs, ECDs, CCOs, account people and clients, collectively. Of course, that's just a rough average. Sometimes, 100% of your ideas get killed!

One of the things I quickly learned in the world of professional creativity is that, to come up with winning ideas, we need to come up with lots of ideas. Lots and lots of them. Really. Piles of ideas. Read more

November 20, 20171 Comment

On Creative Confidence, Clay Horses and Dragon Fruits

"I'm not the creative type"
or
"I'm just not a creative thinker"

Statements like that are not based on reality. Saying that is like saying you don't like broccoli before you try it. Or dragon fruit, for that matter: It's weird-looking, it doesn't resemble any other fruits you've tried before, and it seems to have been designed by a child.

So it must not be for you.

Even though it may taste like a mix between kiwi and happiness. But creativity, unlike that happy-looking fruit, is something we have all tasted. It's something we were born with.

Yes. We were born creative. That's the main argument in Sr. Ken Robinson's TED talk (the most popular TED talk ever – so it must be true, right? :)) and I hope this idea is more widely accepted 10 years later.

The sad part of the argument is that it implies our creativity is taken away from us as we grow up. We start to learn and to comply, and we started building a box around us. Now, learning from earlier generations and from each other is the crux of human evolution, but sometimes unexpected side effects happen. Here's an example: Read more

September 12, 2015No Comments

The difference between Innovation and Creativity

Recently on Quora, I answered a question that deals with a couple of concepts that are super talked about nowadays: "creativity" and "innovation". In the tech-savvy, always-connected, ever-evolving world we live in, those 2 words are in everyone's mouths.

Does everyone know what they're really talking about? Most people are not sure how to define creativity or innovation, and get their noodles cooking when asked to differentiate the two. If that's the case for you, don't feel bad. There are a few different definitions out there, so it's a little bit like religion: you should stick to whatever you believe, but if someone else believes something different, it doesn't mean their wrong. But there are a some related concepts that are undeniable, like the fact that every new idea generates from previously existing concepts.

Read my answer below, or read it on Quora.

What is the difference between creativity and innovation? How do you define creativity? How do you define innovation?

You're going to find that the definition of "creativity" and "innovation" vary A LOT depending of the author/source. I have my own take on it, which I offer below. Read more

September 6, 2014No Comments

There’s no “i” in Creatvty

There's no "I" in creatvty

There's no reason to deny it: creation is a selfish act. We hear the stories about TV artists being a bit too touchy about criticism or the singer who throws a fit because things aren't exactly the way he wants. Anyone who's ever created something has felt at least a little bit like that. Doesn't matter if it's a company, a marketing plan or even a power-point presentation. When it's your idea, it's personal.

We know that great breakthroughs in creativity come from environments that allow creative people to exchange ideas. This is the whole basis of Steven Johnson's research – you can find out more about it in this great video or watch his TED talk. An ambient where ideas can be exchanged is a breeding ground for innovation and we definitely need to share our ideas with our peers in early stages to allow for cross-pollination and improvement. That's not the same as saying we should come up with ideas in groups. Read more

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