Talk to People
There were toys available for our “inner child” to play with, including a basketball hoop. They were good distractions while ideas marinated. On Fridays we could wear extremely casual clothes like shorts and bring in our children and pets.
Share Rejected Ideas
I remember a large board displaying images and slogans that clients had not approved. It wasn’t meant to shame anyone but to show that while the ideas were creative they weren’t the correct ones for a particular client. However, they might be useful for another advertising campaign or give someone an idea. I’ll never forget this memorable, although rejected, slogan written to advertise a restaurant/bar—“Eat, drink and meet Mary.”
Brainstorming sessions took place almost daily. They were relaxed and informal either in a scheduled meeting, people bouncing ideas off one another, or alone. There was only one rule —no criticism while brainstorming because judgments at an early stage shut down creativity. Also, write down all ideas, even the crazy ones, and then evaluate them at the end of the process. If an idea looked weak, it was pumped up to see if it would work or if it was over the top, then it was taken down a notch.
There were additional guidelines for large group meetings. Give people time to come up with their own ideas ahead of a meeting and don’t follow the same train of thought for too long or let one person take over. Otherwise, it could lead to group think.
There are many ways to kick start creativity ranging from simple to elaborate. Some were as easy as writing with crayons instead of using a computer. I enjoyed “thinking cards” like Roger van Oech’s “Creative Whack Pack,” which is a set of cards with questions or advice to “whack you out of habitual thought patterns.”