Creativity Guidelines as Presented to the Baton Rouge Ad Club

Because some of you won’t be able to make my presentation tomorrow to the Baton Rouge Chapter of the American Advertising Federation, I thought I might include some of the tips I’ll give to the group in this blog post.

Regardless of how you may be involved in this industry, we all share in the design and development of our own creativity. These tips will hopefully sharpen your current set of skills so that you’ll be better equipped to address challenges as they arise.

Enjoy your dip in the pool of creative tips!


 Always think of yourself as creative! If in doubt, think of this: If you can challenge your own imagination and
stimulate thoughts leading you to a new level of solution, you’ll be realizing your own sense of creativity.

 

Creativity needs to be synonymous with “FUN!”

 

Don’t manage creativity; manage FOR creativity. Provide an environment that is open and
receptive to new ideas. Acknowledge error or failure in a constructive and supportive way, build
it into your culture as part of the process; don’t ridicule it; honor and embrace it.

Consider adopting the “suckless mentality” – When presented with something that doesn’t quite
measure up, say something to the effect of “Gee, that really sucks. However, if your tried this or
that, it might suck less.”

 

Chief Marketing Officers must have creativity in themselves, for the good of the business and
their own teams. “Creativity as a weapon of business is under-leveraged not for lack of ideas, but
for lack of courage to use them or refusal to give up on them. The phrase, ‘We don’t have time for
creativity,’ is not something you would ever hear in the most successful businesses,” says Mark-hans
Richer, former Sr. VP-CMO Harley-Davidson.

 

Trying to satisfy everybody never got anybody anywhere. Focus on what’s important, then do it.

 

The strategy must be clear, concise and on target. Your message is going to be screwed up if the
creative is too cute, too complex, doesn’t follow strategy or is just plain dumb.

 

Don’t let the execution bury the idea. The computer and software are just tools to enhance the
idea, not to compete with, replace, or screw it up. Use your own computer – your brain.

 

Take time to think. There’s always more than one way to do something. That’s creativity!

 

Do not bring a DEAD CAT without a shovel! In other words, never present a problem without
bringing the shovel – at least two possible solutions. In doing so, you save time if one of these
solutions is the one adopted, and you can share your creative thinking while learning more about
what’s important to your boss; remember, you may not know all there is to know.

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Hopefully making a ruckus, one blog post at a time!

Be sure to check out my other blog,Joe’s Journey, for personal insights on life and its detours.

Quotes Times Ten . . .

The ones who see things differently…who are not fond of rules…they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. — Steve Jobs

Be brave enough to live life creatively. The creative place where no one else has ever been. – Alan Alda

Where there is shouting, there is no true knowledge. – Leonardo da Vinci

I think it’s better to be overly ambitious and fail than to be underambitious and succeed in a mundane way. I have been very fortunate. I failed upward in my life! – Francis Ford Coppola

Meetings are all too often the burial grounds of great ideas. — Keith Reinhard, member, Advertising Hall of Fame

You cannot force ideas. Successful ideas are the result of slow growth. Ideas do not reach perfection in a day, no matter how much study is put upon them. – Alexander Graham Bell

The most dangerous phrase in the language is, We’ve always done it this way. – Grace Hopper

If at first, the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it. – Albert Einstein

We are drowning in information, while starving for wisdom. The world henceforth will be run by synthesizers, people able to put together the right information at the right time, think critically about it, and make important choices wisely. – E. O. Wilson


There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. — Ernest Hemingway

Hopefully making a ruckus, one blog post at a time!

Be sure to check out my other blog, Joe’s Journey, for personal insights on life and its detours.

Who is the creative individual and where is he/she?

While we are all creative in some aspect, some people are more creative than others. How do we distinguish one from the other or do we? What should we look for when searching for creative people? While reviewing several research articles on creativity, I ran across one that might shed some light on this “creative people search.”


Creativity can be defined as the capacity to come up with new ideas to serve a purpose. Think of it as intelligence having fun! As such, creativity serves a vital role in both our personal and professional lives every day.

No wonder employers want creative employees in areas where it is essential to come up with proposals for new products and services, and new ways of doing things.

The Creative Personality

Professor Øyvind L. Martinsen at BI Norwegian Business School conducted a study some years back to develop a personality profile for creative people: Which personality traits characterize creative people? The study was conducted with 481 people with different backgrounds and consisted of various groups of “creative” people.

  • The first group of creative people consisted of 69 artists working as actors or musicians in a well-known symphony orchestra or are members of an artist’s organization with admission requirements.
  • The second group consisted of 48 students of marketing.
  • The remaining participants in the study were managers, lecturers and students in programs that are less associated with creativity than marketing.

Seven Creativity Characteristics

In his study Martinsen identified seven paramount personality traits that characterize creative people:
1. Associative orientation: Imaginative, playful, have a wealth of ideas, ability to be committed, sliding transitions between fact and fiction.
2. Need for originality: Resists rules and conventions. Have a rebellious attitude due to a need to do things no one else does.
3. Motivation: Have a need to perform, goal-oriented, innovative attitude, stamina to tackle difficult issues.
4. Ambition: Have a need to be influential, attract attention and recognition.
5. Flexibility: Have the ability to see different aspects of issues and come up with optional solutions.
6. Low emotional stability: Have a tendency to experience negative emotions, greater fluctuations in moods and emotional state, failing self-confidence.
7. Low sociability: Have a tendency not to be very considerate, are obstinate and find faults and flaws in ideas and people.

Among the seven personality traits, associative orientation (#1) and flexibility (#5) are the factors that to the greatest extent lead to creative thinking. “Associative orientation is linked to ingenuity. Flexibility is linked to insight,” according to the professor. The other five characteristics describe emotional inclinations and motivational factors that influence creativity or spark an interest in creativity. “The seven personality traits influence creative performance through inter-action,” Martinsen points out.

Less Sociable

The study shows that the artists who participated scored much higher on associative orientation than the other participants. They have a substantial need for originality and are not particularly stable emotionally. The personality profile of the marketing students was quite similar to the artist profile and also differs from the other participants in the study. The artists in the study also scored lower values for ambition than the others and are not particularly sociable.


“An employer would be wise to conduct a position analysis to weigh the requirements for the ability to cooperate against the need for creativity,” Martinsen believes. He also emphasizes that creative people may need help to complete their projects. “Creative people are not always equally practical and performance-oriented, which is the reverse side of the “creativity medal.”

Since a good eight years have passed from when this study was done, it would be interesting to learn what differences, if any, a newer study would reveal toward creativity aspects in individuals. Given that the creative landscape itself has changed, it shouldn’t be too surprising to find that the new study results would reflect that.

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BI Norwegian Business School. “The hunt for the creative individual.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 April 2013. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130402091133.htm.

Hopefully making a ruckus, one blog post at a time!

Be sure to check out my other blog, Joe’s Journey, for personal insights on life and its detours.

A Dozen Tips to Enhance Your Creativity

• Creativity needs to be synonymous with “FUN!”

• Idea Tub – can be a physical place or thing and/or an electronic file. It’s a compilation of all ideas
ever submitted since you started keeping track, but organized as to be readily accessible.

An elaborate Idea Tub

• Don’t let the execution bury the idea. Your message will be diluted and possibly even confusing if
the creative is too cute, too complex or just plain dumb. Think napkin, not computer.

• Realize your own sense of creativity by challenging your imagination and stimulate thoughts to lead
yourself to a new level of solution.

• The idea, for best results, should be media and discipline neutral. Otherwise, you limit yourself.

• Focus on how you’re going to make the idea work and be relevant. But, never fall in love with it.

• Don’t ever underestimate the power of the mind or your imagination. Don’t ever be afraid to ask,
“Why, Why not or What if . . .?”.

• Ye Olde Creativity Survival Kit — Any sort of container in which you place whatever makes you
FEEL creative and THINK creatively. In this industry, silly is sometimes serious business.

• Thinking at Warp Speed – Generating ideas at breakneck speed is a great way to capture ideas on
Post-it Notes (one per note) in answering a specific question to solve a problem. Remember Giant
Post-its for your “idea wall” which can foster brainstorming and open-door policy idea addition.

• Drill Down Technique – Discovering THE idea. In this unusual method choose your five best ideas
and ELIMINATE THEM, choose five more and ELIMINATE THEM. The last idea Post-it may or
may not be the best, but it’s one to which you normally would not have paid much attention. Go play.

• As ideas are developed, make sure their essence is refined. Make sure your ideas are clear and
you can explain their basic value in about 20 seconds. If you can’t explain it to an 8-year old so they’ll understand it, you need to refine your idea more.

• Don’t manage creativity; manage for creativity. Provide an environment that is open and receptive
to new ideas, and that builds failure into the process. Acknowledge error or failure in a constructive
and supportive way.

Hopefully making a ruckus, one blog post at a time!

Be sure to check out my other blog, Joe’s Journey, for personal insights on life and its detours.

Ever Been on a Creative Hot Streak? A New Study Finds That It Involves These Two Habits

At one time or another, we’ve all been on a creative hot streak even if we didn’t realize it. The words flowed freely, the design snapped into place magically making for very impactful creative. But how did that happen? How does one get on a “hot steak” of creativity? A new study from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University may have a road map.

The secret involves experimenting with a wide range of subjects, styles, and techniques before perfecting a specific area of one’s craft—what the authors describe as a mix of exploration and exploitation.

“Although exploration is considered a risk because it might not lead anywhere, it increases the likelihood of stumbling upon a great idea,” the study’s lead author, Dashun Wang, said in a statement. “By contrast, exploitation is typically viewed as a conservative strategy. If you exploit the same type of work over and over for a long period of time, it might stifle creativity. But, interestingly, exploration followed by exploitation appears to show consistent associations with the onset of hot streaks.”

Wang’s findings, published in the journal Nature, sought to identify periods of intense creativity in the work of visual artists, as well as film directors and scientists. The team used image recognition algorithms to analyze data from 800,000 artworks from 2,128 artists, including Jackson Pollock, Frida Kahlo, and Vincent van Gogh. The rest of the study was based on Internet Movie Database (IMDb) data sets for 4,337 directors, and publications and citations on the Web of Science and Google Scholar for 20,040 scientists.

Creative trajectories and hot-streak dynamics: three exemplary careers. Data analyzing the work of Jackson Pollock, Peter Jackson, and John Fenn.

Creative trajectories and hot-streak dynamics: three exemplary careers. Data analyzing the work of Jackson Pollock, Peter Jackson, and John Fenn.

Pollock, who achieved widespread popular and critical success with his groundbreaking drip paintings from 1946 to 1950, is one of three creators singled out as examples in the paper.

Director Peter Jackson, who famously made the “The Lord of the Rings” epic fantasy trilogy after experimenting in genres such as horror-comedy and biography is another.

John Fenn, who won the 2002 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his work with electrospray ionization, having previously studied numerous other topics is another.

The paper identified patterns in the creators’ work over time—changes in brushstrokes, plot points or casting decisions, or research topics. It noted the diversity both in the period leading up to a hot streak, which typically lasts about five years, and at other times in the subject’s career. Five years?!

I found this to be surprising in that most hot streaks I’ve personally encountered have been anywhere from a few hours to several months. I’ve never thought of them in terms of years. Anywhoo . . .

In all three fields, the trend tended toward a more diverse body of work in the period before a hot streak than at other points in time. Then, during the hot streak, the creators tended to continue to work in the same vein, suggesting “that individuals become substantially more focused on what they work on, reflecting an exploitation strategy during hot streak.”

So when is your next hot streak coming up and will you know it when it hits you?

This post is based upon the article by Sarah Cascone of Art Net News.

https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2015/12/Jackson-Pollock-1950_L2011001166.jpg
Jackson Pollock at work in 1950. Photo: ©1991 Hans Namuth Estate Courtesy Center for Creative Photography, the University of Arizona.

Creativity Tip #24: Trying to satisfy everybody never got anybody anywhere. Focus on what’s important, then do it.

Hopefully making a ruckus, one blog post at a time!

Be sure to check out my other blog, Joe’s Journey, for personal insights on life and its detours.

More Quotes

Since it’s been a few weeks when Quotes last appeared, I thought it was time to bring them back. Mostly advertising folks below but a few that are just as memorable. Everyone comes from a different perspective. Enjoy!

Conceit is God’s gift to little men. — Bruce Barton, member, Advertising Hall of Fame

Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside of them was superior to circumstance. — Bruce Barton, member, Advertising Hall of Fame

A good ad should be like a good sermon: It must not only comfort the afflicted, it also must afflict the comfortable. — Bernice Fitz-Gibbon, member, Advertising Hall of Fame

It is easier to tone down a wild idea than to think up a new one. — Alex Osborne, member, Advertising Hall of Fame

Some questions don’t have answers, which is a terribly difficult lesson to learn. — Katharine Graham, member, Advertising Hall of Fame

The heart of creativity is discipline. — William Bernbach, member, Advertising Hall of Fame

If you can’t turn yourself into your customer, you probably shouldn’t be in the ad writing business at all. — Leo Burnett, member, Advertising Hall of Fame

I do not regard advertising as entertainment or an art form, but as a medium of information.
— David Ogilvy, member, Advertising Hall of Fame

Advertising, to be successful, must understand or anticipate basic human needs and wants and interpret available goods and services in terms of their want-satisfying abilities. This is the very opposite of manipulation. — Charles H. Sandage, Advertising Hall of Fame

What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything? – Vincent Van Gogh

Creativity Tip #34: Start fooling around. Splash the paint on. Scribble the words down. Sing.



Hopefully making a ruckus, one blog post at a time!

Be sure to check out my other blog, Joe’s Journey, for personal insights on life and its detours.



Creativity and Risk Taking

Being creative requires taking some risks. Sometimes it’s the risks that hold us back from moving forward and being creative. Learn about two types of risks, what it really means to step out of your comfort zone, and how to test assumptions you might have about your fears.

How do you think you’d do getting out of your comfort zone? As a test, try my Creativity Tip below. First, think of a question that is a problem needing to be solved. Then, tackle tip #23. As an added challenge, try coming up with 100 ideas (one or two words or short phrases) in 10 minutes.

Creativity Tip #23: Warp Speed Thinking – Come up with as many one or two-word ideas as you can in 5 minutes.

Hopefully making a ruckus, one blog post at a time!

Be sure to check out my other blog, Joe’s Journey, for personal insights on life and its detours.

Death Resides in an Upstairs Room

Sometimes death takes on different forms for different people. This is a tale about one of those times.

Death is nothing at all. It does not count. I have only slipped away into the next room. Nothing has happened. Everything remains exactly as it was. I am I, and you are you, and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged. Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.

Call me by the old familiar name. Speak of me in the easy way which you always used. Put no difference into your tone. Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together.

Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that it always was. Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it. Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was.

There is absolute and unbroken continuity. What is this death but a negligible accident? Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just round the corner. All is well. — Author Unknown

Excuse me a moment. Believe someone’s at the door.

(Hears knocking.) Hmmm, sounds like from upstairs but I don’t have an upstairs.

(Door sounds, squeakily opens.)

“Pam?” I ask. No response.

“Pam?” I ask again. 

“I can’t come out but you can come in,” she intones.

“I hear your voice but can’t see you. If this is what I think it is, I can’t come up there now. It’s not yet my time,” I say.

Then slowly I hear a squeaky door closing. 

“Pam?”, I ask. No response. Then again; nothing.

Then, faintly, as if In the distance, I hear a door close.

I stand there, frozen and jarred by the experience.

News Bulletin from the Interdimensional News Agency:

Did this really happen? Does life exist that close to another dimension? Does just a door we cannot see separate us from the hereafter? Who knows!

Perhaps in the Twilight Zone it does, but this is not the TZ. Or is it?

Perhaps it’s simply a page-turn at the chapter’s end in the multidimensional book of life and death.

“Pam? . . . Pam?”. . . Fade to black . . .

That was over a year ago and nothing like that has reoccurred. I think back on that evening from time to time wondering if it did, in fact, happen or was I just dreaming.

This particular evening was quiet and I found myself curled up in my easy chair with a good book. I had just come to a stopping point and started to head off to bed when I heard what I thought was a very squeaky door slowly opening. Thinking to myself it came from next door, I went off to bed.

“Joe?” the voice intoned in what was more like a low whisper.

“Joe?” the voice asked again.

I froze. I just stood there, saying and doing nothing.

“Who’s there?,” I asked, not really expecting a reply.

“I can’t come out but you can come in,” the voice replied softly.

Not again, I thought. This can’t be happening.

“Joe?,” said the voice again. “Please come up and join me. I miss you!” she said .

Playing along, I said “Who is this and what do you want?”

“It’s me, Pam. Please join me upstairs.”

“I don’t have an upstairs and you can’t be Pam. My wife died over a year ago,” I said.

“If this is some sort of sick, perverted joke, I don’t appreciate it!,” I stressed.

“It’s no joke, Joe,” the voice said softly. “It is me, Pam, and you do have an upstairs, just not like you know it to be.”

Then, for some strange reason, I turned around and looked back toward the living room and kitchen area. There was a cloud-like haze inside the apartment, almost like a cloud had seeped inside hugging just below the ceiling.

I heard what sounded like a door slowly rocking back and forth on its hinges. I stood there in awe of what I thought I saw.

What was this sight I was seeing. Could it be an actual cloud? No, that’s impossible, I thought. Another dimension?

Then the voice again, “Joe, come join me. I miss you.” This time the voice was much clearer and louder, but not yelling. “There’s a room that’s been made ready for you. It’s right next to mine. Won’t you please join us?” she asked.

“Us?” I said. “Who’s us,” I asked.

No answer. Silence. Utter stillness.

Yet, the “cloud” remained. Was it an entrance to another dimension? Was this voice talking and beckoning to me really Pam? I didn’t know. I just know that during this time the hairs on the back of my heard were still at attention and I was quite uneasy.

Meanwhile, that slow rhythmical squeaking of a door rocking back and forth on its hinges was the only sound I heard.

Until I didn’t. Then the door closed shut, rather startlingly.

“Pam? . . . Pam?” I called out.

Silence.

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Creative Confidence – Is it in You?

Is your school or workplace divided between the “creatives” versus the “practical” people? Yet surely, David Kelley suggests, creativity is not the domain of only a chosen few. Telling stories from his legendary design career and his own life, he offers ways to build the confidence to create.

As for building confidence, afraid of snakes? This may help.

David Kelley’s company IDEO helped create many icons of the digital generation — but what matters even more to him is unlocking the creative potential of people and organizations to innovate routinely.

So give it a listen. I think you’ll be glad you did.

David Kelley giving his TED Talk

Creativity Tip #4: Trying to satisfy everybody never got anybody anywhere. Focus on what’s important, then do it.



Hopefully making a ruckus, one blog post at a time!

Be sure to check out my other blog, Joe’s Journey, for personal insights on life and its detours.