Shamelessly lifting the blogpost from 360i blog that summarized the workshop that Adam Kerj and I gave last week in Cannes. My first time presenting in the hallowed halls of the Palais and it was really inspiring to get such a rousing reception, get to know amazing creative colleagues from all over the world and generally have a lot of fun doing it.
Herewith, a repost from the work blog for my records:
The goal of the workshop was to present a framework for marketers and agencies to use while pursuing the elusive Big Idea – a creative concept with the power to fundamentally change the way people perceive your brand AND generate tangible business value as a result. The challenge is that although oftentimes clients and agencies set off looking for a Big Idea, they don’t always have a clear sense of what exactly they’re looking for.
Here are the key lessons from our Idea Safari:
Coming up with a Big Idea is easy; coming up with the right Big Idea is hard. The advertising world is a much different place than it used to be. Consider the fact that 80 percent of today’s technology didn’t exist five years ago and it isn’t hard to understand why brands are struggling to keep up with consumers. Beyond having a great idea, marketers and agencies are challenged to make sure the idea solves the right problem at the right time in order to succeed in today’s “creative economy.”
Strategic Big Ideas require the right framework. There are three ways to ensure that client and agency are in sync when developing an idea: vision, language and tools. ‘Vision,’ means the core principle on which the concept is built. At 360i, this principle is real-time value exchange. ‘Language’ means communicating the objectives in such a way that everyone is hunting for the same prey (more on that below). ‘Tools’ are the things you use to ensure everyone is going off in the same direction (a creative brief is a great example of such a tool).
Define your prey. Central to any successful safari is a basic knowledge of what you’re looking for. Big Ideas can come in all shapes and sizes. In this particular safari, the different types of prey we seek are: Elephants (transformative business ideas), Lions (campaign ideas), Gorillas (activation platforms or series of tactics), and Chameleons (tactics big or small).
Sometimes the biggest ideas are tactics. As part of the workshop, we challenged teams of attendees to embark on their own Idea Safaris. Our goal was to move from the first workshop on the first day of Cannes to the most shared workshop during the first day of the conference. Taking home the glory – and a cool 400 Euro tab at the famed Gutter Bar – was a team that brought to life a tactical idea (Chameleon) that demonstrated a creative approach and met the objectives of the brief.
The goal of the Idea Safari is to present a universally applicable model for generating creative work that actually works (i.e. it meets tangible business objectives). Coming up with a Big Idea is easy – but the true mark of a successful idea is not in its form or size, but rather its ability to solve the right problem at the right time.
Thanks to everyone who attended in Cannes. We will see you next year!
From Gene Wilder to Mel Stuart, director of Willie Wonka.
It's pretty much the clearest, most respectful but sharpest creative feedback I've ever read.
Strong point of view, but respectful of his partners.
I've just received the costume sketches. I'll tell you everything I think, without censoring, and you take from my opinion what you like.
I assume that the designer took his impressions from the book and didn't know, naturally, who would be playing Willy. And I think, for a character in general, they're lovely sketches.
I love the main thing — the velvet jacket — and I mean to show by my sketch the exact same color. But I've added two large pockets to take away from the svelt, feminine line. (Also in case of a few props.)
I also think the vest is both appropriate and lovely.
And I love the same white, flowing shirt and the white gloves. Also the lighter colored inner silk lining of the jacket.
What I don't like is the precise pin pointing in place and time as this costume does.
I don't think of Willy as an eccentric who holds on to his 1912 Dandy's Sunday suit and wears it in 1970, but rather as just an eccentric — where there's no telling what he'll do or where he ever found his get-up — except that it strangely fits him: Part of this world, part of another. A vain man who knows colors that suit him, yet, with all the oddity, has strangely good taste. Something mysterious, yet undefined.
I'm not a ballet master who skips along with little mincy steps. So, as you see, I've suggested ditching the Robert Helpmann trousers. Jodhpurs to me belong more to the dancing master. But once elegant now almost baggy trousers — baggy through preoccupation with more important things — is character.
Slime green trousers are icky. But sand colored trousers are just as unobtrusive for your camera, but tasteful.
The hat is terrific, but making it 2 inches shorter would make it more special.
Also a light blue felt hat-band to match with the same light blue fluffy bow tie shows a man who knows how to compliment his blue eyes.
To match the shoes with the jacket is fey. To match the shoes with the hat is taste.
Take risks. Break. Invent tools. Form obsessions. Cut through the weight of your education. It's difficult to think without obsession. Repetition not rote.
Play, where there are no ends, only means. (I don't often think 'play' when I think Richard Serra)
Process takes precedence over results (!)
My concern is that experience by proxy is a poor substitute for the reality of the interactive space we inhabit. As a sculptor I believe that perception structures thought and that to see is to think and conversely to think is to see. The virtual reality of the media, be it television or internet, limits our perception in that it affects our sense of space. It immobilizes our ability to apprehend actual physical space. Don’t let the rhetoric of simulation steal away the immediacy of your experience. Keep it real, keep it in the moment
The following post is an adaptation of an email to my colleagues at work based on a great article forwarded to us by our awesome colleague Mark Avnet, Dean of 360iU, former head of the Creative Technology track at VCU's Brandcenter and all-around guru (as well as musician)
This is the link Mark sent around from Forbes. Here's a shortened link for those of you reading this on Facebook: https://is.gd/DiQsef
Go read it.
Now that you have, you should know one thing before we start: male mosquitos don't bite.
And, the point that I made to my colleagues is that unfortunately for those of us who do what we do to create a new part of our somewhat moribund industry this: most of the ideas that our clients and most business managers in general want to buy don't have a bite either.
Here's part of the reason why.
A lot of businesspeople (especially on the corporate level, not just marketing) are incentivized to MITIGATE risk, not CREATE risk (it's why they pay their lawyers more than they pay us). Yes they want revenue growth, but they want steady revenue even more.
Risk creates reward (yay!) but it also creates uncertainty, and possibly failure (boo!). Those of us who are on the creative idea production end of the business do a lot to train ourselves to be more creative.
But what do we do to help our clients and partners through risk? We need to consider risk more when we evaluate our ideas and how clients are doing so. (Roger Martin has a lot to say about how to create a culture amenable to risk, and how risk is really necessary in his book The Design of Business)
So how can we encourage decisions that will be, although good, risky?
70% resources in a low risk, highly brand relevant environment,
20% resources in a high risk, highly brand relevant environment,
10% resources into highly risky relevant initiatives, being brand new ideas that celebrate failures and successes
So, in other words, I don't think you can fight the psychological bias against creativity.
What we can do, however, is give people enough reassurance that what we're doing isn't COMPLETELY risky. Just saying "just think of what you'll miss if you don't make a bet on this idea' OR 'because it's fu**ing kool" isn't enough.
It's why we write POVs. By defining new trends or technology, we make them a little less risky.
It's why we show ideas and create comps. This is why we push our design skills as an agency. When we SHOW people an idea and involve them in it, it immediately becomes less risky. Especially when it looks great.
It's why strategy needs to tell a story, not just a collection of facts. Stories help explain new ideas in a way that feels comfortable and relatively safe.
We don't have to create a false sense of security, but putting new ideas in context and showing how they might work, how they might come to life creates an atmosphere of trust where creativity of any kind can take root and perhaps even flourish.
Plenty of coverage elsewhere about Facebook's email, but this video does a great job of explaining why you should care. It reminded me that Facebook is about people, and the more they remember that, the cooler and better their innovations will be.