Creativity has been forced down the comms priority ladder by the fire-fighting of the last couple of years, but you can reignite it with a few quick tweaks to your outlook.
by James Morton and Lauren Castle
The pandemic has caused a lot of things to shrink in significance.
Smart causal clothes. The Boots lunchtime meal deal. That Rush Hour Crush column in the Metro.
For comms folk, sadly one fast-vanishing fantasy has been creativity. Time to be creative? Hah! No time for luxuries like that.
Just give us five to try and prove otherwise…
See, we were lucky enough to spend a couple of days with the fine comms folk of the fire service at their annual conference recently.
Like the entire comms community, they’ve been through the mill during the pandemic when faced with the constant firefighting (literal and metaphorical, in their case).
But in one hour, they proved that every comms person’s creativity is bubbling away under the surface, ready to erupt like a volcano.
During our workshop, they generated inspired and original ideas for a perennial recruitment campaign and helped redesign Sainsbury’s Christmas range (Cheeseboard Trifle or Mince Pie Gin anyone?)
So, what unearthed these hitherto-hidden gems? Just a wee bit of space to think and some of our simple, quick prompts.
Want to know the secret sauce? Of course you do.
1. Wrong answers only please
No-one else sees the world like you do. Your ideas are yours and they are unique.
Yet we retain a fear of sharing them. Will I be judged? Will they think I’m bonkers? What if I’m wrong?
Other fears also creep in – the fear of where to start, the fear of the unknown. It’s all scary stuff.
Start by simply saying YES to your ideas. Let them in. Share them with the world and others and watch them grow.
There are no wrong answers when it comes to ideas – they are yours and yours only. Put them out there and you never know where they might lead.
I mean, imagine pitching this idea – ageing Welsh rappers to carry vital vaccine message. But marvel at the result…
2. Connect the unconnected
Steve Jobs once succinctly summed up one of the secrets of his success: “Creativity is just connecting things.” And he was spot on.
Creative people are brilliant at seeing connections and unifying things that previously seemed incompatible or unlikely (we’re back at Cheeseboard Trifle again…)
Kids are masters at looking at the world differently. Is that a hosepipe or a snake slithering through the undergrowth?
Rediscover the inquisitive imagination of your inner child and start seeing the world in a new light.
3. Inspiration is everywhere
Inspiration – it literally means breathing in. And what we breathe in helps create what we give out.
You are what you absorb – the people you meet, the places you go, the music you listen to, the social accounts you follow. It’s what makes you and your ideas unique.
We are always surrounded by inspiration – from the pattern of the smallest leaf to the biggest Hollywood blockbuster. Soak it all up.
We call it the Ideas Everywhere mindset, where everything becomes a potential creativity bomb ready to blow.
And when you start looking for it, inspiration really can appear everywhere, as this little gem of an ad depicts so beautifully…
One last thing…
So, you’ve got all these wonderous new ideas overflowing out of your head.
Capture them. Don’t let them escape. There’s nothing more frustrating than that ‘oh that brilliant thing I saw but can’t remember where’ moment.
Carry a pen. Use your Notes on your phone. Like something on social.
At Alive, we use a shared Slack channel to capture great stuff we’ve seen. And the good news is that it’s been turned into a blog so you can all have a delve for some inspiration if time really is still too tight right now.
We like to help if we can.
Say hello to Alive at @alivewithideas on Twitter or alivewithideas.com.
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