Many clients I know feel as if creativity is not part of their job. They think of their work as a very serious responsibility involving tasks that require rigorous analysis and tough decisions. Yet, we constantly hear about the rapidly changing environment and the need for innovation and new ideas. Without them, we are at risk of “falling behind” (at least, so say the current business gurus). The question is: where will these ideas come from? Here’s a thought: not necessarily from typical analysis.
Brainstorming and creativity has, for the most part, been embraced by businesses (and trumpeted by innovation experts) and yet, it is still fairly underused and misunderstood. This is probably the fault of consultants and agencies who have built lots of unnecessary mystique around creativity. When discussing the need to come up with new ideas (often during planning cycles), I have heard clients say “That’s the job of the agency – they’re good at ideas” and “I’m not creative, anyway”. Why is it that corporations give consultants and agencies more leeway than they give themselves to re-think and re-invent their brands and businesses?
It’s time to change this mentality. We are all creative in our own way. And if you feel you aren’t creative, then you should start practicing. After all, creativity is like a muscle – it can be developed. You can practice brainstorming on little problems – how you might run a meeting differently, where to go for a team lunch, or even where you will take your next vacation.
Corporations also need to truly embrace new ideas, making creative thinking them part of everyday work (not just isolated brainstorming workshops). Good agencies and consultants will help by catalyzing the thinking and providing insights and fresh techniques. Instead of handing off the job, try brainstorming together. Then spend time developing the ideas and making them your own. This kind of collaboration and iteration makes for great working relationships and makes good ideas even better.
In order to thrive, we need to be more creative and have more fun. Brainstorming is energizing and it brings people together. Do it more often!