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Demystifying creativity:!
A user guide for left brainers.
David Murphy
Founder & Serial Thought Provoker
wikibranding
Common refrain of left-brainers.
•  I’m not creative.
•  I don’t have time to be “artsy.”
•  I’ve got to make the numbers.
•  I’m not lighting candles and incense in my office.
•  I don’t know how.
Today’s goals
•  Demystify creativity.
•  Provide a useful framework for creating ideas.
•  Apply this framework to Kimpton.
Kimpton’s culture of creativity.
“We think diverse people will lead to diverse creativity.” ~ Michael
Depatie
“We celebrate the tries, even if they don’t work.” ~ Michael Depatie
“If you’re not willing to laugh at yourself and be silly, then we’re probably
not the company for you.” ~ Niki Leondakis
My teachers through the years.
My teachers through the years.
What is creativity?
Do we know what creativity looks like?
•  Which company do you feel is the most creative marketer? 
•  What has been the most creative product or service in the last 10
years? 
•  Who is the most creative person you know?
Creativity is not
torture or punishment.
Creativity is not a
hollow exhortation.
Luck?!
A dark art?!
Serendipity?
Think of creativity this way: !
It’s not art – it’s counter-intuitive problem solving.
Click to launch video.
Creativity in a business environment must be a
defined, repeatable and measureable process...
…albeit one that is counter-intuitive and freely
defies conventions.
What if beer was marketed like a punk band?
What if we ignore the water and focus on the
bottle instead?
Click to launch video.
What if we re-
imagine jewelry as
a mouthwatering
indulgence?
What if we think of
a sneaker as a
fashion accessory?
What if we don’t get too clever and instead focus
on what’s hiding in plain sight.
Step one: Remove the self-inflicted obstacles.!
How many can you spot in this video?
Click to launch video.
Stop!
•  The 16 page “brief”
•  Poor customer focus
•  No prioritization
•  Marketing-speak
•  Ignoring the simple solution
•  Involving too many decision makers
•  Losing sight of the original goal
Creativity killers.
•  We accept assumptions – solve the wrong problem.
•  We know what we know – perceptual narrowing / well-trodden
mental paths.
•  We don’t pursue multiple solutions – divergent thinking.
Use any of the symbols to
make this correct.
I0 I0 I0 = 9.50!
( × − + ÷ )!
Use any of the symbols to
make this correct.
Answer: Why assume this
is a math problem – 9.50
is ten minutes to ten.
I0 T0 I0 = 9.50!
( × − + ÷ )!
A woman parks her car outside a hotel and realizes that she’s
bankrupt.
Explain.
A woman parks her car outside a hotel and realizes that she’s
bankrupt.
Answer: A properly populated
brainstorming team would
expose the problem to a wider
range of perspectives and
experiences.
By moving only one
glass, make both rows
the same.
By moving only one
glass, make both rows
the same.
Answer: Why accept the
assumed definition of
“move” – pour a full glass
into the empty glass.
A man walks into a bar and asks for a
glass of water. The barman pulls out a
gun and points it at the man’s head. The
man thanks the barman and walks out
without receiving his drink.
Explain.
A man walks into a bar and asks for a
glass of water. The barman pulls out a
gun and points it at the man’s head. The
man thanks the barman and walks out
without receiving his drink.
Answer: Surrounding yourself with
relevant knowledge helps unlock new
ideas. People also drink water to cure the
hiccups!
A framework for creative
problem solving.
•  Define
•  Know
•  Collaborate
•  Invert
Define Know Collaborate Invert
“Give me the freedom of a
tightly defined problem.”
Norman	
  Berry	
  
Define
•  Create a ruthlessly well-honed statement of the problem.
•  Be specific about what you want to achieve.
•  Challenge assumptions and the very definition of the problem to be
solved.
Goal:
Make it easier for bikers
to grab their water bottle.
Goal:
Make it easier for bikers
to grab their water bottle.
Tighter goal:
Make it easier for bikers
to drink water.
The Five Whys.
•  Quickly determine the root cause of a problem by asking a
series of five whys.
•  Reveal the true problem that needs to be solved.
The Five Whys.
The assembly line keeps shutting down
because we’ve got a problem with the
fuses in our machines.
The Five Whys.
Five Whys
 Root Cause
1. Why did the machine stop?
 It blew a fuse.
2. Why did the fuse blow?
 The fuse was the wrong size.
3. Why was the wrong size fuse
in the box?
The engineer put it there.
4. Why did the engineer do that?
 The supply room issued the wrong size fuse.
5. Why?
 The stock bin was mislabeled.
Solve for this!
Brainstorm.
“We have a problem getting the second
visit from around 80% of our guests.”
Employ the Five Whys.
What’s the true problem to be solved?
Illustration of The Five Whys.
Five Whys
 Root Cause
1. Why aren’t we getting more
second visits from InTouch
guests?
They only sign up to get free wifi.
2. Why is that the case?
 It’s the only tangible benefit at check-in.
3. Why aren’t we winning them
over with an emotional
experience?
The It takes two or three visits before you experience a
Kimpton moment.
4. Why can’t we demonstrate
love on the first visit?
We don’t capture enough insightful and useable
personal information at the time of booking.
5. Why?
 Our booking system isn’t designed to do this.
Solve for this!
Radical word pairings.
•  Challenge the problem statement. Underline key words in the statement.
•  Choose a pair of main words – e.g., adjective & noun or noun & verb.
•  Develop synonyms for each. Use these to inspire new word pairings.
•  See if this unlocks a fresh way to redefine the problem.
Radical word pairings.
We don’t get steady attendance at the InTouch training sessions.
Radical word pairings.
We don’t get steady attendance at the InTouch training sessions.
Continuous participation
Ongoing learning
Active buy-in
Strong commitment
Inspiration festival
Motivation show
Me time
Knowledge jam session
Radical word pairings.
Continuous participation
Ongoing learning
Active buy-in
Strong commitment
Inspiration festival
Motivation show
Me time
Knowledge jam session
Should it even
be a “training
program” or is it
a steady stream
of motivational
tips?
We don’t get steady attendance at the InTouch training sessions.
Brainstorm.
Use radical word pairings to further refine
the second stay challenge statement.
How would this restate the challenge?
Define Know Collaborate Invert
“A man paints with his brain
and not with his hands.”
Michelangelo	
  
Know
•  Creativity flows from knowledge, not guessing.
•  Exposing yourself to new information disrupts preconceived solutions.
•  Institutional knowledge is helpful, but only as guidance, not rules. 
•  Toyota approach to innovation – Kaizen. Learn from mistakes…
continuous improvement.
Facts can make a big difference.
Original brief:
Create new Grand
Marnier cocktails.
Grand Romance
Grand Cool
Grand Crush
Grand Tropical
New information:
The most commonly
ordered drinks:
Margarita
Rum & Coke
Vodka & Cranberry
Bloody Mary
Jack & Coke
Vodka & Tonic
Scotch & Water
New Grand Marnier
cocktails:
Grand Marnier & Tonic
Grand Marnier & Cranberry
Three boxes.
Turn data dump of information into areas of focus.
Must Haves
 Historic 
Balls & Chains
Our Ideal future.
Bucket relevant knowledge into three categories.
Ideal mix is 33%/33%/33%.
Brainstorming can now focus on (1) ideas that eliminate historic barriers and (2) ideas
that move toward the ideal.
Brainstorm.
Thinking about the challenge to get that
second visit…
What information do we need? 
What are some examples of
information that would fall into the
three buckets.
Define Know Collaborate Invert
“We > Me”
Collaborate
•  Practice collaborative creativity. 
•  Creativity is the collision of disparate ideas, perspectives, experiences
and people.
•  Are you an idea catalyst?
Six Hat Team
•  Use Edward de Bono’s “six hat” model for lateral thinking.
•  Disrupt “perceptual narrowing” and locking in too soon.
•  Populate brainstorming team with people designed to fulfill
designated brainstorming roles.
•  Switch up roles in follow up meeting to keep ideas fresh.
Six Hat Team
Team Member
 Role
 Contribution
Blue Hat
 Facilitation
 What process will keep the team on track?
White Hat
 Information
 What do we need to know to solve this problem?
Red Hat
 Emotions
 How will the idea make people feel?
Yellow Hat
 Positivity
 What is good about the idea?
Black Hat
 Risk
 What are the possible pitfalls and how can we get around them?
Green Hat
 Growth
 What’s the ideal? Can we make this idea even bigger?
Discussion.
What would be an ideal six hat team to
solve the second stay challenge?
Why type of expertise should be on that
brainstorming team?
Define Know Collaborate Invert
“Imagination is more important
than knowledge.”
Albert	
  Einstein	
  
Invert
•  Practice lateral thinking…disrupt mental routines.
•  Look at the problem from a radically different perspective. 
•  Think beyond your specific relationship with your customer. What are
the other passion points in your guest’s life – epicurean, technology,
discovery, health, etc.?
Turn lemons in to lemonade.
•  Start a brainstorming session by developing a list of bad ideas (e.g., what
would be the worst way to design a welcome kit?).
•  This creates comfort and early participation.
•  Ask the group to then brainstorm ways to fix the bad ideas and turn
them into great ones.
Category role play.
•  Think beyond your specific relationship with your customer. What are the other
passion points in your guest’s life – epicurean, technology, discovery, health, etc.?
•  Imagine you are in a completely different category. How might you approach the
problem if you were:
–  Amazon
–  Nordstom
–  A kid’s lemonade stand
–  An indie corner coffee shop
Moons, planets and suns.
•  Write down your initial ideas as fast as possible. These are moons.
•  Step back and observe the how some of these ideas my intersect.
Combine them. These are moons. 
•  Keep looking for intersections and opportunities to make a big
creative leap.
•  Combine these planets until you arrive at a Sun.
Moons, planets and suns.
Inner Circle Amenities
Greeting
Make guest feel good
Moons, planets and suns.
Inner Circle Amenities
Greeting
Make guest feel good
First impression
Fun
Appreciation
Moons, planets and suns.
Inner Circle Amenities
Greeting
Make guest feel good
First impression
Fun
Appreciation
Memorable moments
Moons, planets and suns.
Inner Circle Amenities
Greeting
Make guest feel good
First impression
Fun
Appreciation
Memorable moments
Send singing telegrams!
Parallel brainstorms.
Break down the problem into distinct parts – e.g., customer insights
vs. brand values. Brainstorm each individually. Then combine
disparate ideas into something larger.
Dasani Drops Value:
Spontaneity
Customer Insight:
Seek inspiration
Flash	
  mobs	
  
Random	
  acts	
  
Skywriters	
  
Street	
  teams	
  
Surprise	
  par>es	
  
Scavenger	
  hunts	
  
Mo>va>onal	
  speakers	
  
Emo>onal	
  affirma>on	
  
Op>mism	
  
Posi>ve	
  people	
  
Children	
  
Art	
  
Daily	
  affirma>ons	
  wriEen	
  
in	
  the	
  sky	
  (in	
  the	
  Dasani	
  
fruit	
  colors).	
  
Street	
  corner	
  mo>va>onal	
  
speakers.	
  
Flashmob	
  a	
  kids	
  chorus.	
  
Brainstorm.
Think about the challenge to get that second visit…
Break down the challenge into distinct parts.
Brainstorm ideas for each part.
Combine into larger ideas.
A framework for creative
problem solving.
•  Define
•  Know
•  Collaborate
•  Invert
Try some things that make you
uncomfortable.!
Find a style that works for you.
Thank you.

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Demystifying Creativity: a handbook for left brainers.

  • 1. Demystifying creativity:! A user guide for left brainers. David Murphy Founder & Serial Thought Provoker wikibranding
  • 2. Common refrain of left-brainers. •  I’m not creative. •  I don’t have time to be “artsy.” •  I’ve got to make the numbers. •  I’m not lighting candles and incense in my office. •  I don’t know how.
  • 3. Today’s goals •  Demystify creativity. •  Provide a useful framework for creating ideas. •  Apply this framework to Kimpton.
  • 4. Kimpton’s culture of creativity. “We think diverse people will lead to diverse creativity.” ~ Michael Depatie “We celebrate the tries, even if they don’t work.” ~ Michael Depatie “If you’re not willing to laugh at yourself and be silly, then we’re probably not the company for you.” ~ Niki Leondakis
  • 5. My teachers through the years.
  • 6. My teachers through the years.
  • 8. Do we know what creativity looks like? •  Which company do you feel is the most creative marketer? •  What has been the most creative product or service in the last 10 years? •  Who is the most creative person you know?
  • 9. Creativity is not torture or punishment.
  • 10. Creativity is not a hollow exhortation.
  • 12. Think of creativity this way: ! It’s not art – it’s counter-intuitive problem solving.
  • 13. Click to launch video.
  • 14. Creativity in a business environment must be a defined, repeatable and measureable process...
  • 15. …albeit one that is counter-intuitive and freely defies conventions.
  • 16. What if beer was marketed like a punk band?
  • 17. What if we ignore the water and focus on the bottle instead? Click to launch video.
  • 18. What if we re- imagine jewelry as a mouthwatering indulgence?
  • 19. What if we think of a sneaker as a fashion accessory?
  • 20. What if we don’t get too clever and instead focus on what’s hiding in plain sight.
  • 21. Step one: Remove the self-inflicted obstacles.! How many can you spot in this video?
  • 22. Click to launch video.
  • 23. Stop! •  The 16 page “brief” •  Poor customer focus •  No prioritization •  Marketing-speak •  Ignoring the simple solution •  Involving too many decision makers •  Losing sight of the original goal
  • 24. Creativity killers. •  We accept assumptions – solve the wrong problem. •  We know what we know – perceptual narrowing / well-trodden mental paths. •  We don’t pursue multiple solutions – divergent thinking.
  • 25. Use any of the symbols to make this correct. I0 I0 I0 = 9.50! ( × − + ÷ )!
  • 26. Use any of the symbols to make this correct. Answer: Why assume this is a math problem – 9.50 is ten minutes to ten. I0 T0 I0 = 9.50! ( × − + ÷ )!
  • 27. A woman parks her car outside a hotel and realizes that she’s bankrupt. Explain.
  • 28. A woman parks her car outside a hotel and realizes that she’s bankrupt. Answer: A properly populated brainstorming team would expose the problem to a wider range of perspectives and experiences.
  • 29. By moving only one glass, make both rows the same.
  • 30. By moving only one glass, make both rows the same. Answer: Why accept the assumed definition of “move” – pour a full glass into the empty glass.
  • 31. A man walks into a bar and asks for a glass of water. The barman pulls out a gun and points it at the man’s head. The man thanks the barman and walks out without receiving his drink. Explain.
  • 32. A man walks into a bar and asks for a glass of water. The barman pulls out a gun and points it at the man’s head. The man thanks the barman and walks out without receiving his drink. Answer: Surrounding yourself with relevant knowledge helps unlock new ideas. People also drink water to cure the hiccups!
  • 33. A framework for creative problem solving. •  Define •  Know •  Collaborate •  Invert
  • 34. Define Know Collaborate Invert “Give me the freedom of a tightly defined problem.” Norman  Berry  
  • 35. Define •  Create a ruthlessly well-honed statement of the problem. •  Be specific about what you want to achieve. •  Challenge assumptions and the very definition of the problem to be solved.
  • 36. Goal: Make it easier for bikers to grab their water bottle.
  • 37. Goal: Make it easier for bikers to grab their water bottle. Tighter goal: Make it easier for bikers to drink water.
  • 38. The Five Whys. •  Quickly determine the root cause of a problem by asking a series of five whys. •  Reveal the true problem that needs to be solved.
  • 39. The Five Whys. The assembly line keeps shutting down because we’ve got a problem with the fuses in our machines.
  • 40. The Five Whys. Five Whys Root Cause 1. Why did the machine stop? It blew a fuse. 2. Why did the fuse blow? The fuse was the wrong size. 3. Why was the wrong size fuse in the box? The engineer put it there. 4. Why did the engineer do that? The supply room issued the wrong size fuse. 5. Why? The stock bin was mislabeled. Solve for this!
  • 41. Brainstorm. “We have a problem getting the second visit from around 80% of our guests.” Employ the Five Whys. What’s the true problem to be solved?
  • 42. Illustration of The Five Whys. Five Whys Root Cause 1. Why aren’t we getting more second visits from InTouch guests? They only sign up to get free wifi. 2. Why is that the case? It’s the only tangible benefit at check-in. 3. Why aren’t we winning them over with an emotional experience? The It takes two or three visits before you experience a Kimpton moment. 4. Why can’t we demonstrate love on the first visit? We don’t capture enough insightful and useable personal information at the time of booking. 5. Why? Our booking system isn’t designed to do this. Solve for this!
  • 43. Radical word pairings. •  Challenge the problem statement. Underline key words in the statement. •  Choose a pair of main words – e.g., adjective & noun or noun & verb. •  Develop synonyms for each. Use these to inspire new word pairings. •  See if this unlocks a fresh way to redefine the problem.
  • 44. Radical word pairings. We don’t get steady attendance at the InTouch training sessions.
  • 45. Radical word pairings. We don’t get steady attendance at the InTouch training sessions. Continuous participation Ongoing learning Active buy-in Strong commitment Inspiration festival Motivation show Me time Knowledge jam session
  • 46. Radical word pairings. Continuous participation Ongoing learning Active buy-in Strong commitment Inspiration festival Motivation show Me time Knowledge jam session Should it even be a “training program” or is it a steady stream of motivational tips? We don’t get steady attendance at the InTouch training sessions.
  • 47. Brainstorm. Use radical word pairings to further refine the second stay challenge statement. How would this restate the challenge?
  • 48. Define Know Collaborate Invert “A man paints with his brain and not with his hands.” Michelangelo  
  • 49. Know •  Creativity flows from knowledge, not guessing. •  Exposing yourself to new information disrupts preconceived solutions. •  Institutional knowledge is helpful, but only as guidance, not rules. •  Toyota approach to innovation – Kaizen. Learn from mistakes… continuous improvement.
  • 50. Facts can make a big difference. Original brief: Create new Grand Marnier cocktails. Grand Romance Grand Cool Grand Crush Grand Tropical New information: The most commonly ordered drinks: Margarita Rum & Coke Vodka & Cranberry Bloody Mary Jack & Coke Vodka & Tonic Scotch & Water New Grand Marnier cocktails: Grand Marnier & Tonic Grand Marnier & Cranberry
  • 51. Three boxes. Turn data dump of information into areas of focus. Must Haves Historic Balls & Chains Our Ideal future. Bucket relevant knowledge into three categories. Ideal mix is 33%/33%/33%. Brainstorming can now focus on (1) ideas that eliminate historic barriers and (2) ideas that move toward the ideal.
  • 52. Brainstorm. Thinking about the challenge to get that second visit… What information do we need? What are some examples of information that would fall into the three buckets.
  • 53. Define Know Collaborate Invert “We > Me”
  • 54. Collaborate •  Practice collaborative creativity. •  Creativity is the collision of disparate ideas, perspectives, experiences and people. •  Are you an idea catalyst?
  • 55. Six Hat Team •  Use Edward de Bono’s “six hat” model for lateral thinking. •  Disrupt “perceptual narrowing” and locking in too soon. •  Populate brainstorming team with people designed to fulfill designated brainstorming roles. •  Switch up roles in follow up meeting to keep ideas fresh.
  • 56. Six Hat Team Team Member Role Contribution Blue Hat Facilitation What process will keep the team on track? White Hat Information What do we need to know to solve this problem? Red Hat Emotions How will the idea make people feel? Yellow Hat Positivity What is good about the idea? Black Hat Risk What are the possible pitfalls and how can we get around them? Green Hat Growth What’s the ideal? Can we make this idea even bigger?
  • 57. Discussion. What would be an ideal six hat team to solve the second stay challenge? Why type of expertise should be on that brainstorming team?
  • 58. Define Know Collaborate Invert “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” Albert  Einstein  
  • 59. Invert •  Practice lateral thinking…disrupt mental routines. •  Look at the problem from a radically different perspective. •  Think beyond your specific relationship with your customer. What are the other passion points in your guest’s life – epicurean, technology, discovery, health, etc.?
  • 60. Turn lemons in to lemonade. •  Start a brainstorming session by developing a list of bad ideas (e.g., what would be the worst way to design a welcome kit?). •  This creates comfort and early participation. •  Ask the group to then brainstorm ways to fix the bad ideas and turn them into great ones.
  • 61. Category role play. •  Think beyond your specific relationship with your customer. What are the other passion points in your guest’s life – epicurean, technology, discovery, health, etc.? •  Imagine you are in a completely different category. How might you approach the problem if you were: –  Amazon –  Nordstom –  A kid’s lemonade stand –  An indie corner coffee shop
  • 62. Moons, planets and suns. •  Write down your initial ideas as fast as possible. These are moons. •  Step back and observe the how some of these ideas my intersect. Combine them. These are moons. •  Keep looking for intersections and opportunities to make a big creative leap. •  Combine these planets until you arrive at a Sun.
  • 63. Moons, planets and suns. Inner Circle Amenities Greeting Make guest feel good
  • 64. Moons, planets and suns. Inner Circle Amenities Greeting Make guest feel good First impression Fun Appreciation
  • 65. Moons, planets and suns. Inner Circle Amenities Greeting Make guest feel good First impression Fun Appreciation Memorable moments
  • 66. Moons, planets and suns. Inner Circle Amenities Greeting Make guest feel good First impression Fun Appreciation Memorable moments Send singing telegrams!
  • 67. Parallel brainstorms. Break down the problem into distinct parts – e.g., customer insights vs. brand values. Brainstorm each individually. Then combine disparate ideas into something larger. Dasani Drops Value: Spontaneity Customer Insight: Seek inspiration Flash  mobs   Random  acts   Skywriters   Street  teams   Surprise  par>es   Scavenger  hunts   Mo>va>onal  speakers   Emo>onal  affirma>on   Op>mism   Posi>ve  people   Children   Art   Daily  affirma>ons  wriEen   in  the  sky  (in  the  Dasani   fruit  colors).   Street  corner  mo>va>onal   speakers.   Flashmob  a  kids  chorus.  
  • 68. Brainstorm. Think about the challenge to get that second visit… Break down the challenge into distinct parts. Brainstorm ideas for each part. Combine into larger ideas.
  • 69. A framework for creative problem solving. •  Define •  Know •  Collaborate •  Invert
  • 70. Try some things that make you uncomfortable.! Find a style that works for you.