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The New Conditions for Creativity


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Creativity is a discipline we need more than. But the right conditions are needed for it to thrive. Taking a look at academia, science and recent writing about ideas- this presentation uncovers the 11 conditions required for creativity to flourish.

Published in: Marketing

The New Conditions for Creativity

  1. 1. The Conditions for Creativity A presentation in beta
  2. 2. About Me- Ed Cotton • A career in advertising as an Account Planner and Chief Strategy Officer • Responsible for developing insights and informing and inspiring the creative process • 20 years at BSSP- an internationally recognized creative agency- Adweek Agency of the Decade 2000-2010, Ad Age Small Agency of the Year 2018 • 11 years working on one of the world’s most iconic and creative brands- MINI
  3. 3. 000006630077/bon-iver-imi.html
  4. 4. The Caveat This presentation cannot provide all the evidence and the answers The topic and topics involved are simply too wide and deep to cover in a short session Consider this a flavor and a taster A start-point for a potential process that could help you by first allowing you to optimize your existing assets and processes and then calibrate to use them in new ways
  5. 5. Key Insights From… • Google • SNL • Steve Johnson • Bon Iver • Peter Field • Orlando Wood • Roger Beaty • Radiohead • Brian Eno • Bressler and Menon • Pablo Picasso • Keith Richards • Paul McCartney • Karuna Subramaniam- University of California • Rex Jung- University of New Mexico • Charles Limb
  7. 7. The Premise The creative process has been a dark art and a mystery for far too long Not much has changed in 5 decades The communication industry needs to adapt the same level of attention to its talent as sports teams do to theirs
  8. 8. Not that much has changed
  9. 9. Anyone with a core asset surely needs to know how to get them to perform as their best
  10. 10. Defining Creativity
  11. 11. “Creativity is the defeat of habit by originality” Alfred Koestler
  12. 12. A Creative Idea Needs to Be • Novel • Surprising • Valuable • Margaret Boden- 2004
  13. 13. To be Registered as a US Patent an Idea Must… • Have evidence a non-obvious or surprising step
  14. 14. Defining Creativity
  15. 15. Defining Creativity An idea that is both original and appropriate Surprise and optimal realization are key Creativity exists in different forms Social judgement
  16. 16. 3 Types of Creativity Transformational- the big breakthrough – an idea that seemed impossible, a shocking new idea Exploratory – exploring and developing styles or testing theories- a new painting in the impressionist style Combinational- the most fundamental and basis – political cartoons
  17. 17. Why Creativity Matters
  18. 18. 1. The World Has Big Problems to Solve
  19. 19. 2. When corporate growth is hard to find, creativity provides the edge
  20. 20. “Creativity is one of the last remaining legal ways of gaining an unfair advantage over the competition.” Ed McCabe
  21. 21. 3. The Creative Crisis
  22. 22. Creativity Does Not Work Short-Term- We Need Bigger, More Durable Ideas • More disconcerting, argued Field, is the evidence that creativity is being applied more and more to short- term sales activations, where it will only yield mediocre results. Creativity is best applied to situations when you want to use surprise to catch people’s attention and change their perceptions: brand building, in other words. ‘If you constrain highly creative advertising to work in the short term or simply deliver short-term results, you do even more damage to its effectiveness than you would to less creative campaigns in general,’ said Field, adding: ‘As a result we have witnessed a catastrophic decline in the typical efficiency multiplier achieved by creatively awarded campaigns.’ Peter Field – Crisis in Creative Effectiveness
  23. 23. Left Brain vs. Right Brain
  24. 24. The Curse of Sameness
  25. 25. As Brand Takes on a Bigger Mandate- Creativity Must Follow • Brand is officially liberated from the confines of marketing. Counterintuitively, eliminating the CMO position has set the brand free from marketing, reuniting it with the business. • Forrester- November 2019
  26. 26. 4. The Threat from Machines Makes Creativity An Imperative
  27. 27. We’re all going to face a very challenging next fifteen or twenty years, when half of the jobs are going to be replaced by machines. Humans have never seen this scale of massive job decimation
  28. 28. One very valid reason for existing is that we are here to create. What AI cannot do is perhaps a potential reason for why we exist. One such direction is that we create. We invent things. We celebrate creation. We’re very creative about scientific process, about curing diseases, about writing books, writing movies, creative about telling stories, doing a brilliant job in marketing. This is our creativity that we should celebrate, and that’s perhaps what makes us human. Kai Fu Lee- Founder Sinovation Ventures
  30. 30. 11 Key Learnings
  31. 31. 11 Key Findings What Happened? Requirements Qualities Cultural Neurological Stimulus Mood Discipline Behaviors Teamwork
  32. 32. Steve Johnson Film FU
  33. 33. What Happened?
  34. 34. 1. Ideas Have Multiple Authors
  35. 35. 23 people simultaneously came up with the idea of the light bulb
  36. 36. Requirements- Qualities
  37. 37. 2. Creativity Demands Outside Interests • “Importantly, we found that people who did better on this task also tended to report having more creative hobbies.” • Roger Beaty
  38. 38. 2. Creativity Demands – Openness • Scott Barry Kaufman,1 Lena C. Quilty,2 Rachael G. Grazioplene,3 Jacob B. Hirsh,4 Jeremy R. Gray,5 Jordan B. Peterson,4 and Colin G. DeYoung3 1 The Imagination Institute, Positive Psychology Center, University of Pennsylvania 2 Centre for Addiction and Mental Health 3 University of Minnesota 4 University of Toronto 5 Michigan State University
  39. 39. 2. Creativity Demands Curiosity Via- Ian Leslie
  40. 40. 2. Creativity Demands Curiosity
  41. 41. 2. Creativity Demands Outside Interests • His day job is developing the theory of natural selection and in his spare time, he's always going and working on his barnacle and beetle collection and working in his garden.
  42. 42. 3. Creativity Happens in Small Hunches- They need play to become bigger
  43. 43. Charles Darwin’s notebooks show us how he had ideas about evolution long before he wrote them into a unified theory.
  44. 44. Years ago, Colin played me the taped result of a week or so’s exploration in their Oxford studios; it was a mere sketch, and I wondered how on earth those basic rhythms and chords could become one of the intricate, haunting and eccentrically original numbers, streaked by Thom Yorke’s bright voice (frequently ranging into a crystalline falsetto), that have turned Radiohead from a sixth form band into the world’s most inventive.
  45. 45. Requirements- Cultural
  46. 46. 4. Creativity Thrives in Scenes
  47. 47. Why? • There is mutual appreciation • There is a rapid exchange of tools and sharing • There are the network effects of success, which means whenever there is a success, it’s celebrated by everyone within the scene • There is a local tolerance for the novelties, which means that renegade, maverick, unusual, and revolutionary ideas are protected from tampering by a buffer zone • Brian Eno
  48. 48. Requirements- Neurological
  49. 49. 5. The Brain Has A Process for Creativity
  51. 51. Different Networks and Pathways
  52. 52. At Our Most Creative – We Turn Off Judgement
  53. 53. I paint objects as I think them, not as I see them. Pablo Picasso
  55. 55. Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will. George Bernard Shaw l
  56. 56. “By the time I come to the blank page I have many things to say.” Joyce Carol Oates
  57. 57. 6. Ideas Emerge When The Mind is Elsewhere
  58. 58. The default mode network is most active when we are at rest
  59. 59. The Default Network The default network consists of a group of interconnected brain regions, including the medial prefrontal cortex, the posterior cingulate cortex, the angular gyrus and the hippocampus. These brain areas talk to each other when we daydream, recall memories or think about the intentions of others. Previous literature suggests that they may also play a role in envisioning the future.
  60. 60. The default network is a set of brain regions that activate when people are engaged in spontaneous thinking, such as mind-wandering, daydreaming and imagining. This network may play a key role in idea generation or brainstorming – thinking of several possible solutions to a problem. Roger Beaty
  61. 61. Dreams
  62. 62. Keith Richards
  63. 63. Paul McCartney “I just fell out of bed, found out what key I had dreamed it in…and I played it.”
  64. 64. Simon Sinek!! • When I was writing Leaders Eat Last, I would have so many ideas in the shower, or when I was brushing my teeth, for example, and I would forget them as quickly as I had them, that I kept a dry erase marker in my bathroom and I wrote on the tiles. So as soon as I got out of the shower, while I was brushing my teeth, I’d write an idea on the tile. When I was standing there the next day, brushing my teeth, I’d be staring at my writing on the tile and I’d sometimes have another idea. It looked like a Beautiful Mind. It was ridiculous.
  65. 65. Requirements- Stimulus
  66. 66. 7. To Create, The Brain Needs Fuel
  67. 67. 7. To Create, The Brain Needs Fuel • "The more raw material you have, the more time you devote to developing a skill set, the easier it is to improvise. It takes expertise to have enough material to draw on to be creative. So find an area that interests you, develop an expertise in that area, and then start creating and develop something extraordinary." • Rex Jung- University of New Mexico
  68. 68. Requirements- Mood
  69. 69. 8. Positivity Makes A Difference
  70. 70. 8. Positivity Makes a Difference • People are more likely to solve problems with insight if they are in a positive mood. • Good mood was associated with greater activity in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) — an area that plays a role in a variety of functions, from regulating blood pressure and heart rate to higher cognitive functions such as decision-making, empathy, motivation, and attention. • Karuna Subramaniam- University of California
  71. 71. 8. Positivity Makes a Difference • By inhibiting the part of the brain that allows self-criticism, the musicians were able to stay in their creative flow, known as "in the zone." "I view this as a neurological description of letting go," Limb said. "If you're too self-conscious, it's very hard to be free creatively." • Commentary on the work of Charles Limb
  72. 72. 8. Positivity Makes a Difference • Generally, positive mood broadens our potential intake of information, while also allowing us to activate the parts of our brain responsible for keeping our attention on the task at hand. • Cognitive neuroscience of insight John Kounios and Mark Beeman in Annual Review of Psychology, 2014.
  73. 73. Requirements- Discipline
  74. 74. 9. Everyone Has Creative Potential It Just Takes Work
  75. 75. 9. Everyone Has Creative Potential • "Everyone is creative; it's just a matter of degree. We have this prototypical idea of artistic creativity, but we are creative in our relationships, our work, our cooking or even arranging our homes in a different way. • Rex Jung- University of New Mexico
  76. 76. 9. Everyone Has Creative Potential • What the trained experts who are so creative are always revealing is that it was practice -- a lot of effort and practice -- that gave them the creative edge," • Charles Limb
  77. 77. 9. Everyone Has Creative Potential • This classic two-year study provided creativity training to 150 students (with another 150 as a control group). • The research approach separated students into class sections to receive four 15-week semesters of creative study courses. • These courses provided semantic and behavioral tests which showed improvement in divergent thinking and problem solving skills. • The findings suggest that creativity can be improved through training • The Creative Studies Project Sydney Parnes, Ruth Noller in Journal of Creative Behavior, 1972.
  78. 78. 9. Everyone Has Creative Potential • Do you want to maximize the creativity of non- creatives? • If so- you need to create the right environment • Intrinsic motivations must be high- people must love the task- be interested and enjoy the challenge • Employees must be correctly matched to task and challenge • Freedom in the way they approach the work • Resources- allocation of time, money, and space • Diverse work groups • Management goal setting- as role models • Organizational support- valuing creativity, encouragement of information sharing and collaboration • Amabile – Harvard
  79. 79. 9. Everyone Has Creative Potential • The big challenge is harnessing the collective creativity when people are rarely in the same place at the same tine
  80. 80. Requirements- Behaviors
  81. 81. 10. Four Behaviors Make A Difference
  82. 82. 10. Four Behaviors Make A Difference • The findings suggest that successful, innovative entrepreneurs differ from unsuccessful entrepreneurs based on their practice of four behaviors: questioning, observing, experimenting, and sharing ideas • Entrepreneur Behaviors, Opportunity Recognition, and the Origins Of Innovative Ventures Jeffrey H. Dyer, Hal B Gregersen, Clayton Christensen in Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, 2008.
  83. 83. Requirements- Teamwork
  84. 84. 11. How Teams Work Best
  85. 85. 11. How Teams Work Best- Personal and Team Work Works Best • People that engaged in intermittent interactions performed best, interspersing time together with individual work. • Ethan Bernstein, Jesse Shore, David Lazer in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2018
  86. 86. 11. How Teams Work Best – Psychological Safety is Everything • Google spent years studying its internal teams and determined that the the factor that made the greatest difference was psychological safety • Team members had to be comfortable working with the group and convinced that their ideas and would be given serious consideration • …….psychological safety allows for moderate risk-taking, speaking your mind, creativity, and sticking your neck out without fear of having it cut off — just the types of behavior that lead to market breakthroughs. HBR •
  87. 87. 11. Teamwork and Collaboration Make Work Better • Enhances the experiences • Gets everyone to experience being creative in some way • Gets the most out of people as individuals • Make them feel valued • Is now an expected part of work
  88. 88. 11. Teamwork and Collaboration Make Work Better • The survey found that the more innovative companies–as ranked by employees–emphasized individual and group work and were five times more likely than less innovative companies to have spaces that accommodate collaboration. • 2016 Gensler Workplace Survey
  89. 89. Creating the Conditions for Creativity
  90. 90. Creating the Conditions for Creativity • Helping those who are called creative • Encouraging those who aren’t called creative to be more creative
  91. 91. Creating the Conditions for Creativity • An examination of some of the history and science of ideas and creativity suggest that there are conditions required in order to optimize it • Core concepts relate to: • The broadening of experiences as inputs • How teams work together • The mood surrounding the process • The importance of rest and relaxation • The use of play to build upon ideas • How creative skills can be learned • The workplace
  92. 92. Conditions for Creativity- Evaluation
  93. 93. Delivering Against the Conditions- Examples
  94. 94. Examples that Deliver Against the Conditions • Breadth of Inspiration • WK Portland and Apple, Microsoft and Google- outside speakers • WK in Portland – agency is also home to local art institutions • Diversity • BBH London intern program – hire non ad people • Pursuits • Anomaly- building its own brands • Hallmark owns a ranch • St Luke's dream fund • Positivity • Lowe in London- creatives never attended client meetings • Encouragement • RGA celebrated the non-work passions of the employee base • Poke London- allowed senior leaders to go and create their own start-up businesses • GUT- Employee awards the GUTSIES
  95. 95. Delivering the Conditions- Examples Empathy- Replica of a favorite rental at Airbnb HQ
  96. 96. Questioning The Creative Conditions of The Organization Inspiration Are we equipping all of our employees to be their best creative selves? Are our processes, buildings, workspace all designed to optimize our creative output? Self-Expression Are we encouraging and supporting their creative passions outside the workplace? Scenes Are the organizations connecting us to scenes or just filter bubbles? Are we connected to and supporting the arts and arts institutions? Diversity Are our organizations truly diverse and is that diversity harnessed?
  97. 97. Questioning The Creative Conditions of the Organization Breaks Are we taking the need to rest, sleep and dream seriously enough? What happens when there is no such thing as downtime? Are we capturing creativity and ideas when they do not apply to a specific brief or assignment? Are we selling creativity to our clients, not just creative ideas? Do we have relationships with academics who are studying the neuroscience of creativity?
  98. 98. Implications for the Creative Process •Are we bringing enough inspiration into the process?Inspiration •Are we allowing ourselves to really empathies with the people we are creating for? •Are we good at connecting that empathy to our own creative drives?Empathy •Is our process positive and encouraging?Positivity •Are we getting the most out of machines and AI to help in the creative process itself?Machines •Are we collaborating together to turn small hunches into big ones- or are we too obsessed with authorship?Collaboration •Do we destroy or miss potentially brilliant ideas?Speed
  99. 99. Summary • Creativity is needed more than ever • We need to take it seriously • We need to do everything in our power to create the conditions for it to thrive • It will not happen in environments that are not set up to encourage it • That do not allow people to be their best creative selves • Huge opportunity to re-think how we nurture and encourage the creative talent we have and the process of creativity • Re-think what we sell to clients- not just the idea- the belief and the process of creativity itself • We need to do and make things that enhance our creativity- not just talk about it