Business development · 20 October 2015

Making memorable content: Why anyone can be creative

Creativity daunts people – it fills them with a fear of expectation that actually often stops them being creative
Creativity daunts people – it fills them with a fear of expectation that actually often stops them being creative

Our sales and marketing expert explores why ‘stupid’ ideas can be some of the most important when it comes to creating memorable content.

I often hear people say, “oh I’m not the creative type”, “I never have good creative ideas” and “ideas are for designers”. In my mind none of these statements are true – we all have different skills when it comes to making an idea come to life, but we do all have ideas.

Mark Twain said in his autobiography: The Chapters from the North American Review:

“There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations. We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely; but they are the same old pieces of coloured glass that have been in use through all the ages”.

This is so true, yes there are always new ideas around new types of technology or new inventions, but they are always solving a problem that is already in existence that we usually already have a way around.

But for some reason, creativity daunts people; it fills them with a fear of expectation that actually often stops them being creative. Children are on the whole more creative than adults, as they do not have the fear of judgement, they say what they think and don’t really worry about the consequences if anyone else thinks it is a silly idea. When we brainstorm at Reflect Digital I encourage those silly ideas, as it is often those ideas that spark someone else to think of a different route that maybe their mind wasn’t identifying before.

boy painting

To get to a great idea you often need to have lots to choose from and to discuss, if you generate 100 ideas, chances are one of them is likely to be good. There is a great idea generation method called the 6-3-5 Brainwriting technique developed by Bernd Rohrbach. You need six people; each person takes five minutes to write down three ideas (against a clearly written brief). After five minutes each person passes their sheet to the left. Now each person has to write three ideas taking inspiration from the ideas in front of them, this is then repeated until everyone has their original sheet back. In 30 minutes, 108 ideas have been generated now ready for review!

There are many methodologies like this all of which try to get individuals to think and to not worry about judgement but to share their ideas, however wacky they may be.

We try to involve team members from all departments when we brainstorm, as each person will see things differently. A fantastic example that backs this up comes from Pixar. In 1982 Craig Good was a janitor for Pixar’s General Services Department. Pixar offered all staff the opportunity to attend after work programming courses, which Good took up and ended up being moved into the computer division of the company. Good eventually became a camera artist working on Toy Story, Finding Nemo and Monsters Inc., a job he held for thirty years. Pixar offering all employees the opportunity to be someone, to have a say and to progress their career has meant that many great creatives have been born.

Creative ideas can often come from nature no matter what industry you work in, nature is creative to its core, it has to be. Nature is made up of inventors and engineers; animals, plants and microbes that have had to change and adapt throughout evolution. D Designers from Nike used nature for inspiration, they observed mountain goats at Oregon Zoo, which led to the development of its Goatek Traction, all-terrain shoe.

Read on to find out what makes an idea memorable.

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Becky Campbell is the founder and managing director of digital marketing agency Reflect Digital – which she set up from her flat aged just 24. Four years later, the agency now delivers market-leading solutions and campaigns covering everything from web design to e-commerce, to a range of clients such as Premier League football clubs.

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