Digging For The Bone: How to Jumpstart Creative Thinking

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How do you increase your likelihood of coming up with brilliant, creative ideas? What's the magic? "Digging for the Bone" reveals the most powerful way to jumpstart your thinking so you can unearth killer ideas. For advertising creatives or anyone charged with developing creative solutions. By Mark Simon Burk, professor New York's School of Visual Arts.

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  • I love this presentation-I'm ready to start digging!
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  • Hey Greg,
    Big thanks for your insightful response. Worth much more than 2 cents!
    You are correct. Understanding context and testing against the idea are critical for development. However, my experience in most of the idea generating sessions I run is that – especially in the technology field -- people have a difficult time separating divergent (expansive) thinking -- which is what I advocate in 'Digging for the Bone', from convergent thinking which winnows down ideas through a considered process. Too often teams get to 'how' way too quickly. In other words, they edit as they ideate and that strangles the process.
    ‘Digging for the Bone’ advocates that, right at the start, open up as many places to mine ideas as possible. Be wildly divergent first, then apply a convergent discipline.
    Hope this clarifies a bit. I’m creating a presentation soon that talks about 'why' as a critical part of problem solving process that almost always gets short-changed. Why? Because I believe people are programmed to go to 'how'. We'll see if you agree or disagree! Cheers!
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  • hi Mark, love the graphics, and persistance message, but I think you missed the mark on the creative part. I think we need to engage our muse. and build mock-ups/ prototypes of the idea to look at it and play with a 'strawman' as most things have constraints and some sort of shape.. then tinker the hell out of it. add , subtract, whatever, vs. a blank page., just my 2 cents. greg
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  • Thanks Stephane. You are one of the true diggers!
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  • Great presentation!!!! Let s continue digging, keeping faith everyday
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Digging For The Bone: How to Jumpstart Creative Thinking

  1. Mark Simon Burk Twitter: @BRANDnv SVA Course: (How to Do) Killer WorkDigging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  2. Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk great ideasin advertising? what’s it like coming up with...
  3. Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk great ideaswhen problem-solving? in advertising? what’s it like coming up with...
  4. Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk great ideas what’s it like coming up with... when brain-storming new approaches? when problem-solving? in advertising?
  5. great question! Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  6. creativity is not a magical thing that just happens. great question! Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  7. Here’s my analogy Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  8. dog you’re a It’s like Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  9. (but more like a human dog) dog you’re a It’s like Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  10. cartoon. You know, Like that one in the RUH?!Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  11. Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk notOnly that one because I couldn’t get the rights.
  12. And you’re digging for bones in the yard Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  13. are ideas = bones Only the Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  14. Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk And the yard you’re digging in...
  15. central park! Is the size of Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  16. NO IDEA And, you have Where in this yard the bones are buried. ? Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  17. NO IDEA Not only that, you have Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk How deep the bones are buried.
  18. Some are tucked just a below few feet Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  19. And some bones are 20 feet underground deepDigging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  20. And if you want one of those bones, there’s only one thing to do... Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  21. And if you want one of those bones, iggin Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk there’s only one thing to do...
  22. anywhere iggin Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  23. place shovel in ground doesn’t matter Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  24. dig dig So you and you Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  25. Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk And for a while…No bones.
  26. And for a while…No bones. But you give up.don’tDigging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  27. You plant your shovel into the ground in as many different places as possible. Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  28. Until... Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk You plant your shovel into the ground in as many different places as possible.
  29. Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  30. You find your first Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  31. bone You’re excited! It’s your first Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  32. bone You’re excited! It’s your first You pull it from the ground. But as you hold it up for all to see... Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  33. It crumbles to dust right in your hand. Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  34. Why? The truth is, 99% of the first ideas you’ll come up with are garbage Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  35. Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk You gotta dig past all those run-of-the-mill ideas, obvious analogies and awful puns. But that’s okay. Enjoy it!
  36. That’s how you get to something Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  37. special That’s how you get to something Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  38. Well, you still have no bone. (bummer) ?! Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  39. So what do you do? ?! (bummer) Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk Well, you still have no bone.
  40. You pick up your shovel and you keep on Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk digging
  41. And all the while you’re never sure whether you should keep where you are, or stop and go dig somewhere else for ideas. Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk digging
  42. just 3 inches below Because maybe that huge idea you’re searching for is where you’re thinking right now. Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  43. And it’s why you sometimes go back to a hole you’d been digging before, because now you have… a hunch. Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  44. Almost as if you’d been given a glimpse of some x x x secret hidden bone map Translation:You revisit an idea you’d dug up earlier, because now you have a better understanding of the problem or Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  45. Translation:You revisit an idea you’d dug up earlier, because now you have a better understanding of the problem or Almost as if you’d been given a glimpse of some you’ve uncovered an insight into your customer’s behavior or... secret hidden bone map x x x Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  46. you found a new way into the problem by Could be because of happy accident. Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  47. Could be because of a conversation you overheard on the subway or a song lyric that hits you. happy accident. you found a new way into the problem by Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  48. dig digAnd so you continue to and Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  49. and then... dig digAnd so you continue to and Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  50. You hit something! Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  51. You hit something! A rock? No. How many times have you hit a rock before that you hoped was a bone? Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  52. No. This sounds Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  53. You dig around it, and beholdit really is a bone! Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  54. And remembering how easily the first one crumbled, You take it out gently and brush it off with your bone brushDigging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  55. This one doesn’t crumble. woohoo! and whaddaya know! Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  56. Translation: The idea that you had at 2 in the morning... illusion? Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  57. Still seems pretty damn good at 7AM. reality Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  58. and you tuck it into your bone pouch. And you’re very excited about this bone so you carefully wrap it up in a linen cloth Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  59. idea person But if you’re a real here’s what you do next: Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  60. hove You pick up your and you get back to your digging because now you’re hungry for more bones. Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  61. GOODat this bone-finding thing. And after a while, you start getting pretty Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  62. Good enough, that your bone bag is filling up with all kinds of bones. In fact, you’re getting so good at it, that one day when you stop for a break Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  63. nwrayou that first real bone you found, which you’d swaddled in linen... Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  64. Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk And you can’t believe it! HUH?!
  65. HUH?!Turning it over in your hands, you say to yourself... Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk And you can’t believe it!
  66. I thought this was a good idea?! seriously? Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  67. what was i thinking?!Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  68. Because since that You’ve found first bone much more insightful bones, funnier bones, more thoughtful bones. Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  69. And then you do something very BOLD Because since that You’ve found first bone much more insightful bones, funnier bones, more thoughtful bones. Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  70. You let that bone roll out of your hand and to the ground fall Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  71. Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  72. When it hits the earth it s plin erstinto a hundred pieces. Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  73. There are others who see this happen. And they can’t believe that you They thought what you had was a pretty good idea! dropped iDigging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  74. socavalier! Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  75. But now you know better. You know it socavalier! wasn’tsuch a great bone after all. Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  76. And so, you get back on your feet, and you continue digging through the day Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  77. And into the night Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  78. And through the next day’s heat day Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  79. night Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk Until one late night your shovel hits something that sounds different.
  80. Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  81. Not like a rock, but also not like the other bones you’ve found. WHAA?!Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  82. You throw down your And get down on your paws and knees and dig around it. shovel Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  83. You’re excitedas hell! please! xyge Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  84. You paw around it and finally unearth it. You take out your special bone brush and after a few strokes, Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  85. you catch your first glintDigging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  86. it makes your heart race!Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  87. And as you lift it from the ground, you think This bone is... this bone has my lord! weight like I’ve never felt in a bone before. Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  88. GOLD. solid Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  89. Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk GOLD. solid Fully uncovered, this bone reflects the moon so brightly that the whole park is cast in its light. Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  90. Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk GOLD. solid One by one, all the other diggers stop and stare over at the Golden Bone you alone hold in your hands. Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  91. Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk They are awestruck by its brilliance
  92. Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk They are awestruck by its brilliance and truth be told
  93. jealousy jealous? uh,yeah! Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk each one seers with a small pang of
  94. jealousy YOU found it.because jealous? uh,yeah! Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk each one seers with a small pang of
  95. jealousy YOU found it. not them. because And jealous? uh,yeah! Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk each one seers with a small pang of
  96. Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk And that’s what it takes to dig up a Killer Idea.
  97. And that’s what it takes to dig up a Killer Idea. It takes effort and Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  98. INSIGHTS to find the into how people think and feel about a product or service Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  99. INSIGHTS or the challenge you’re charged with solving. into how people think and feel about a product or service to find the Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  100. INSIGHTSAnd it takes a lot of poking around the human behaviors that surround it. Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  101. It also means paying close attention to your own creative process, so you can more efficiently triggeryour own thinking Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  102. It also means paying close attention to your own creative process, so you can more efficiently your own thinking trigger Like knowing what time of day, and where, you’re most productive. Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  103. (very important, especially when under pressure!) It also means paying close attention to your own creative process, so you can more efficiently trigger Like knowing what time of day, and where, you’re most productive. your own thinking Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  104. recap:So let’s Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  105. recap: shovel So let’s Put your in the ground in as many different places as possible Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  106. recap: shovel So let’s Put your in the ground in as many different places as possible right at the start! Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  107. Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  108. Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  109. The reward is well WORTH IT Digging for the Bone © 2014 Mark Simon Burk
  110. Taught by Mark Simon Burk School of Visual Arts, NYC sva.edu/continuing-education/ advertising BRANDnvinc.com @BRANDnv mburk@brandnvinc.com ‘Digging for the Bone’ © 2014 Mark Simon Burk (how to do) killer work!

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