Get your crayons back!
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Get your crayons back!



A quick review of creativity and how to be creative. Slant is towards those working in large organizations such as government and big corporations, which may have a risk-averse culture.

A quick review of creativity and how to be creative. Slant is towards those working in large organizations such as government and big corporations, which may have a risk-averse culture.



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Get your crayons back! Get your crayons back! Presentation Transcript

  • Get Your Crayons Back! Creativity in communications Rosetta Public Relations Inc.
  • What do we mean by ‘creativity’?
    • My preferred definitions
    • The process of developing new, uncommon or unique ideas
    • Being imaginative or inventive
    • The power to invest with new form
    • The ability to create new associations between existing ideas or concepts
  • But seriously… what is creativity?
    • The how of communications (as opposed to the what ), often reflected in the vehicle for the message
    • Not an idea but how you use ideas and combine them with others in a novel arrangement
    Duchamp’s ‘readymade’ art
  • Are you born with it?
    • Both an innate talent and a skill
    • We all have the same brain – some have more creativity in theirs than others
    • It can be cultivated, honed and taught… or it can atrophy through disuse
    • The myth of the creative genius – legacy from the explosion of the advertising age
  • Get your crayons back
    • You were creative in kindergarten… what happened? You put your crayons away and studied serious stuff
    • Did you grow up and get boring? Probably
    • You can be creative again Just take your crayons back and make creativity a part of your life and work
    Superman by Robbie, age 4
  • Where does creativity come from?
    • Many sources
    • GETS – good enough to steal
    • Small is beautiful – take the little ideas and combine them (don’t waste your time chasing after the big idea )
    • Serendipity – the art of finding something while looking for something else
    • Subverting convention – think different (sp)
    WS Burroughs, author of Naked Lunch and father of the GETS principle
  • An example
  • Originality
    • Vastly overrated
    • Your idea thefts are likely to go undiscovered unless blatant
    • The key is taking ideas from wherever you find them and combining them into something new of your own making
    • Juxtaposition is good!
    • Originality only applies to your own specific situation – if your context is new then your work is original
  • Argument for creativity
    • Delivers value – like heightened audience interest or a shortcut to intuitive understanding (the aha moment)
    • Surmounts noise in the communications channel by getting you invited into the audiences’ mindspace
    • Conveys desirable brand attributes in addition to the message
    • Can support positioning (or re-positioning)
  • Creativity for large organizations
    • Every organization can be creative
    • Some choose not to be… historically governments, industrial companies
    • Typically risk-averse, approval-seeking organizations have problems with cultivating creativity
    • Often the corporate communications folks are the problem –
        • “ creativity is for the marketing department”
        • “ we outsource that to an agency”
  • Conditions for creativity
    • Capacity – sufficient horsepower (internal or external) to drive project
    • Will – champion(s) who believe in the project
    • Buy-in – appetite among senior management
    Who would’ve thought BK management would back this?
  • Are there limits to creativity? … yes
  • Disciplined creativity
    • Must support brand
    • Must be on strategy
    • Simply means an orderly process to generate creativity
    • Warning – this is hard work with limited shortcuts for the lazy
    • “ You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club.”
    • - Jack London
  • Basic principles
    • Suspend judgement – no nay-saying
    • Resist the usual
    • Don’t stop at one idea, keep going
    • Allow sufficient time… but not too much that ennui sets in
    • Consider repeated creativity generation sessions to prevent burnout
    • Never ignore hallway conversations – doctors do it, why can’t you?
    • Capture everything
    • Focus
    • Don’t turn off creativity – sometimes good ideas come outside of office hours
  • Eating the tangerine
    • Forcing focus
    • Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, teaches this to generate mindfulness
    • Eat a tangerine
    • What does it taste, smell, feel like?
    • Resist the abstract, the urge to categorize
    • Less about thinking than experiencing
    • Now do the same with your ideas – experience them, record them, don’t evaluate them… yet
  • Try three types of thinking
    • Blue-sky
    • Realistic
    • Critical
    • Should be applied separately
    • One should not dominate
    • If you have more time to explore, look at de Bono’s Six Hats model
  • Perspectives
    • Fresh eyes
    • Who is in your organization? What about outside?
    • Imagine – what does this look like from their position?
    • Find the connections
    • Instead of being a professional communications person, look through the lens of:
      • Parent
      • Volunteer hockey coach
      • Community activist
      • Amateur photographer
      • Whatever you might be
    • … or imagine “what would my brother/sister/aunt (circle one) the [insert career here] think?”
  • Generating ideas
    • The What If exercise
    • What if there were no barriers to realizing our objective?
    • Identifies ideal goal
    • Lists obstacles to realizing that goal
    • Obstacles can then be challenged and sorted as
      • Insurmountable
      • Surmountable
      • Imaginary
    • Workaround solutions can be found to realize the goal
    • Imaginary obstacles can be dismissed
  • Generating ideas
    • Story-telling
    • Tell the story/problem differently
    • If this is usually conveyed through text, draw a picture
    • If this is typically told from the government’s viewpoint, tell it from a different perspective
    • Tell/show/act it to a 4th grader
    • Similarity exercise
    • What’s this like?
    • What could you borrow from other sectors?
  • Do we have to brainstorm?
  • Brainstorming
    • Creativity-sparking concept with a bad reputation
    • Useful if structured
    Phase Thinking type Generate ideas Blue-sky Share them Blue-sky First sort Realistic Short list Realistic/critical Best idea Critical Refine (process)
  • Sample brainstorming structure
    • What is this about?
    • What are the opportunities and obstacles?
    • Who are we talking to?
    • What do we want to say?
    • How do we want to be seen?
    • What channels are available?
    • What opportunities exist/could exist?
    • What other noise is there in the environment?
    • What could derail our efforts (worst-case scenario planning)?
    • What other ideas do we like that could be stolen and applied here?
  • Paul McIvor 416.516.7095 416.906.1276 C [email_address] Contact