In this generation where digital marketers are eagerly looking for the newest and most innovative way to tell a story; the bar is set high for agencies to ideate effective nuance brand strategies. At Lumi, each quarter we conduct a Lumi team exploration field day where we examine a different topic in the realm of advertising and marketing. As a Creative Strategist here at Lumi Agency, I was tasked to build a day inspired by ‘creativity’, filling it with opportunities for our company to think outside the box and push the envelope on our current and upcoming projects. Whether the concept is for a new logo or website design, creativity should saturate every aspect of our work. Through research, I’ve compiled some ways to jump-start our company’s creativity that I will be sharing over the course of the month.
Guess what. You’re probably brainstorming wrong.
One issue we face as a creative digital agency is getting everyone’s idea heard and even considered within a productive amount of time. Through reading The Do-It-Yourself Lobotomy by Tom Monahan, there were a few of his practices that resonated with me. One of these activities is called “100 mph Thinking”, which drives team members to come to meetings with a team goal in mind, to produce as many ideas as possible and forget about the quality of your thoughts.
There’s less pressure and it’s much easier to come up with say, 50 ideas than to try to brainstorm for just one that is ‘perfect’. Right? So, in this exercise, I asked our team to compile a list of our biggest annoyances, and we picked one we could all agree on to start this fresh new way of brainstorming.
Before we got started, we set some ground rules.
Time: 30 Minutes
The Set-Up: We assigned one person to the whiteboard. This helps to quicken the process of jotting down ideas from the team and also helped in the final review process. (This person can and should participate in the brainstorm – the more, the merrier!)
Judgment Free Zone: No, we’re not talking about Planet Fitness; however, the notion is the same. You should never judge an idea during the brainstorming process, regardless of whether you love it or hate it. The thought process here is that if you dismiss an idea, you stop that person from being comfortable with giving out a new one for the fear of rejection. Also, if you like an idea, then what do you tend to do? You stop ideating (missing rad new ideas), and we don’t want that.
Be Curious, Not Judgemental: The purpose of a brainstorm is to dive into any and every idea possible to foster a creative and innovative solution. What tends to happen is that we subconsciously tailor our best ideas and present those to who we’re working with, but what about those other ideas that fall by the wayside? They’re lost forever (the horror!) Think of it this way… sharing those ‘subpar’ ideas avoids having a missed opportunity that could have jumpstarted a more magnificent idea for the team to build off of.
Standing To Speak: Instead of being talked over (the worst… am I right?), once you have an idea just stand up. Yeah, that’s right, get up. (A study from Washington University in St. Louis looked explicitly at how creativity flourishes in meetings and found standing encourages excitement amongst the attendees.) This lets the person speaking before you finish their ideation completely, and also urges the person after you to wait for his/her turn to share theirs. This created an atmosphere where ideas were quick, with no competition, and the excitement of sharing ideas and creativity began to flow (seriously, try it!).
P.S. We did see that if someone liked an idea, they chose to build off of it by offering another unique aspect, selling point, or solution to their previous said idea; which pushes the envelope and that’s exactly what we were looking for.
Once You Hit The Big 5-0: Once we had 50 ideas written on the whiteboard, we selected the ones we loved and explored them further. From there, we were able to choose the perfect idea to execute. And there you go, a successful brainstorm.
This brainstorming revamp is a seemingly simple way to get more creative during your next session. Yielding more ideas in an inclusive environment will help to ideate innovative concepts fueled by creativity. Try it and let us know if it worked for you.
Side note: I highly recommend The Do-It-Yourself Lobotomy by Tom Monahan. Snag your copy here.