GE’s attempt to “creaturefy” scary ideas – not bad!

Ideas can scare the hell out of people. They can denote change if they’re adopted.

Too many times we’re not even given the time to explore generating new ideas. Yet, we seem to be constantly trying to evolve and innovate. Hmmmm, last time I checked, one needed ideas to do that. At least one.

This is the third in a series of four related blog posts I referenced in my recent presentation to the AAF Rio Grande Valley. It pertains to ideas and how people react to them. It’s not always receptive especially since ideas are not always welcome.

Hats of to GE for this innovative commercial about ideas and their surprising effects on people. It’s actually been airing since 2014 but I just noticed it a few months ago, and again recently. Good for them to continue the campaign.

The first time I saw it, I really wasn’t sure what I was watching. The more I watched, the more intrigued I got. It still “gets” me in an unnerving kind of way. Several times I just wanted to go “yuck” to myself, but then felt guilty about wanting to do so.

For those who haven’t seen it or who might have missed it, here’s what a scary idea could look like. Next time you come across one, you might give it a bit more respect than one normally would.

 

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Creativity Tip #18: Why not’s and so what’s

Years ago I learned the value of asking “why?” during an interview or conversation with someone from whom I wanted information for an article or ad. The more involved in the subject we dove, the more times I had to think of different ways to say “why?”. “Tell me more,” I’d say or “could you explain that?” — any phrase that would allow me to dive deeper into the subject matter.

Changing things up just a tad, I’d often interject “why not?” when my interviewee would proclaim as fact that something could not be made, redesigned, sold, given away, etc.

Interestingly, it was during some of these times when I’d get an adverse reaction like, “whaddya mean, why not?” It was as if I’d challenged him on his very credentials of smartness.

But none of those times met with as much of a surprise (disdain, maybe) as when I’d ask, as professionally respectful as I could, “so what?” when my subject expert just proclaimed that his or her product or service is “#1” at doing such and such or is the “leader in this and that.”

Usually, I follow up my “so what?” with something like “how is that significant?” or “how will your customer benefit?” That kinda takes some of the sting out of the “so what?” even when you ask it nicely.

Remember, we are the outsider looking into their world, which they hold very dear. In some respects, they view us as challenging them even though our objective is to create a meaningful and interesting story for our readers, and theirs.

Emotions aside, don’t ever be afraid to ask as many “why not’s” and “so what’s” as it takes to get to the bottom of the real, meaningful story. I find it easier to convey interest when either of those phrases are used in conjunction with a statement just uttered by the expert.

It helps both you and your interviewee dive deeper together in discussing information that, quite possibly, hadn’t been thought of before or at least from the perspective you’re providing.

You’re building trust during this dialogue. Both of you are professionals and should respect one another.

Just keep that in mind when you ask your next “so what?”

Creativity Tip #4

How do you know when you’ve hit THE idea? There are different approaches but this one is sort of like thinking in reverse. I call it the Drill Down Technique.

Begin with writing a one or two word idea on a small “sticky note.” These ideas address or answer a specific question that attempts to solve a problem.

coloredstickies

This works better in a group of about four or five, and is a timed exercise of about ten minutes.

So have a timer (electronic or a person) monitor closely.

Once you have, say, 25 or more ideas (“stickies”), choose what you consider to be the best five ideas . . . and ELIMINATE THEM.

At this point, most likely whoever is keeping time will come by and collect the now-discarded ideas. They no longer exist for (for now).

Choose five more from your “sticky notes” and ELIMINATE THEM.

Continue this process in increments of five until you have five best ideas left. Then eliminate three, then one.

Maybe this last idea you have is the best one; maybe not. However, it’s one to which you may not have paid much attention if you had gone through these ideas in a more traditional way.

Now, go do your due diligence and find out.

You never know.

Creativity Tip #117

When was the last time you tried to explain something to an 8-year old? Now, when was the last time you tried to explain something to a group of adults? Did you experience the same feelings or results?

When explaining an idea, consider this: If you can explain your idea to an 8-year old, and she gets it, you’re golden. Children force us to think at the core level, without all the garbage adults heap on top.

If you can’t find an 8-year old, try a stuffed animal. You’ll get their undivided attention. If you feel silly in the process, that’s okay; silly is all part of it.

Taking it a step further, try putting the stuffed animal and the 8-year old together for a mini focus group. The worse that could happen – it may get you to think some more.