Creativity isn’t just for designers. And it’s in demand by clients.If you’ve read Expio’s Providing Creativity blog, you know that clients demand and expect creativity in more than just graphics and logos. Agencies must evolve to inject creativity into all of their tasks.
But, how do you develop or boost a creative mindset?
Developing Your Creative Mindset
Allen Garcie, associate professor of digital arts and graphic designer at Louisiana State University-Shreveport, taught a workshop to a group of American Advertising Federation conference attendees in April 2019. Expio Digital Marketing was in attendance.
Here are some of Expio’s takeaways from Allen’s workshop:
Creativity is a mindset of problem solving. Every professional falls victim to the fear of failure, a lack of inspiration and getting stuck.
But by developing a creative mindset, we’ll reap many benefits, because:
- The world is rapidly changing
- Everyone is racing to keep up, adapt and stay competitive
- The average lifespan of a current new business is less than 15 years (it was 60+ years in the 1950s!) so it’s critical for businesses to stand out
- When we were young, we didn’t think a lot about consequences, right or wrong. We were open to new ideas. Adults can get these traits back
Many people think creativity is born into some of us and that only people who pursue the arts are creative. In truth, creativity can and should be injected into more facets of agency life.
Myths – and Their Truths – About Creativity
- It’s just for artists and others in creative fields
- TRUTH: Creativity can be taught!
- It’s something we’re born with and can’t be developed
- TRUTH: It’s a muscle that you can develop with practice. It can be taught.
- It’s just for kids
- TRUTH: In adults, creativity just shows up in different ways. It manifests itself through innovation, design and problem solving
- We should fear failure
- TRUTH: Every mistake is an opportunity to learn
- Finding inspiration is time consuming
- TRUTH: This is worthwhile time spent toward client goals. Plus, there are tricks to help inspiration hit quickly
- It’s hard to get unstuck
- TRUTH: It’s easy with the right methods
As adults, professionals can become afraid of creative thinking because it involves judgement, others’ opinion and the possibility of making a mistake or being wrong. Creativity is about learning from mistakes and taking them as opportunities for growth.
Professionals need to learn to celebrate their mistakes. In fact:
- Some agencies memorialize their biggest failures, complete with services and ceremonies. Why do they do this? To acknowledge that they failed but that they learned something valuable that’s now applicable to other projects.
- When brainstorming, it’s OK to start with the bad, stupid stuff. The silly ideas can be catalysts to something that could work.
But what if an agency’s employees feel like they’re lacking inspiration? Everyone experiences this, especially because we can easily become stuck in our daily routines and behaviors. Plus, it can be hard to devote time to creativity. Nevermind the fact that it’s hard to quantify and bill clients for inspiration.
If an agency is lacking inspiration, here are a few ways to spark it:
Lacking Inspiration on a Creative Project? Try This:
- Change your perspective/viewpoint/how you look at things (Consider all the crazy ways you could get someone to stop checking her phone. Consider silly uses of a household object)
- Ask what and why a lot. You’ll force yourself to understand your assumptions
- Put yourself in your client’s shoes and/or your target market’s shoes
But what if an employee is truly stuck? What if they’re wasting valuable agency time because creativity alludes them for whatever reason?
Adults are planners because they have to be. Adults spend a lot of time getting ready to act. Unfortunately, if adults don’t know where to start, that uncertainty often leads to inaction. Similarly, too much planning can lead adults to focus on the perfect solution, and that’s not realistic.
Getting Unstuck in the Creative Process
- Creativity is about discovering multiple ideas and solutions – create 10!
- Put two random, crazy ideas together and find ways to combine them
- Coming up with trash, throw-away solutions minimizes the desire to fight for the one idea you’ve been nurturing and feeding
- Come up with crazy solutions on paper. Why? Because if you mess it up, throw it away
- Stop planning so much. Get started doing something, anything
- Stop focusing on perfecting one idea. Even if your multiple ideas don’t work, you might discover something amazing
To summarize Expio’s learnings from Allen, creativity is learnable, inspiration is attainable and there are multiple ways to get unstuck. Smart agencies use creativity in just about every facet of their client services, and creativity is what sets the best agencies above the rest.
Our thanks to Allen for sharing this wisdom and inspiration.