This lecture should be sprinkled on our breakfast cereals each day. It is a foundation for starting a day, a career, and a life. Demanding creativity is like yanking on a seed to pull out a flower.
One of my favorites, Jonathan Harris of We Feel Fine, gave a talk during CreativeMornings’ Arts + Tech themed month done in partnership with RISD. Jonathan revisits different phases of his life and the medium that marked them in his work as an artist. Starting with paint, Jonathan speaks on data, life, himself, and tool(s) — addressing both the positives and negatives of each medium as well as what he hopes for the future of arts and technology.
Here’s a great example – From Digiday:
“TNT gave a dream brief to Breakfast, a tech-hacker marketing boutique of sorts, to help promote its new psychological crime show “Perception“: make something cool in a storefront space in New York City’s Herald Square.
Breakfast hatched what it’s calling a “real-time electromagnetic dot display,” an updated version of old signs in train stations with letters and numbers that flip over as they change. The twist: The display changes based on motions of those in front of it. When walking by, the sign displays mirror images of the people in front of it, reacting immediately to their movements. You wave, your dot-matrix doppelganger waves back. The movements knock away words, revealing clues to anagrams that the star of “Perception” uses to solve crimes. The idea is to physically involve participants in experiencing the plot of the show.”
A well-executed creative idea that’s perfectly aligned with changing consumer demands.
Goertz, a former client, reinvented the shoe buying experience. According to digitalbuzz: “How does a German online shoe store grab some attention in the real world? Well, a virtual shoe fitting installation makes sense right? Yep, here it is, the Virtual Shoe Fitting Store from Goertz, an Augmented Reality, Microsoft Kinect powered installation that is plugged into a giant screen, then rolled out as virtual shoe stores at central stations and shopping centres across Germany.
Using 3x Microsoft Kinects, a beefy computer and giant screen, this virtual shoe fitting station is basically an Augmented Reality Shoe Store, tracking 3D versions of their entire range of online shoes to your feet, allowing you to choose your favourite brands, flip through colours, sizes and then post to Facebook for feedback before buying on your mobile via a dynamic QR code that is displayed on screen.”
A good example how retailers can leave their static stores and create immersive product experiences.
Creativity says: “According to McCann Vice Chairman/Global Deputy Chief Creative Officer Andreas Dahlqvist, a key goal was to extend the life of the catalog in consumers’ homes. Its average lifespan is about two weeks, but with the digital offerings, content can be added and updated on a regular basis, making the catalog relevant year-round.
The print pages tease the additional materials with a smartphone icon that encourages shoppers to scan to see more. The app uses image recognition software from Metaio, and not QR codes, which makes it convenient to add further content to other pages in the future. With those, viewers may be alerted to new content via billboard callouts, for example, said McCann Associate Creative Director Koen Malfait.”
I’m dubious about that execution. In the age of ADD, it doesn’t seem likely people will engage with the catalog as envisioned. Personally, I would have left the catalog mostly alone. It’s a coffee table book, something you engage with as a still product. Aren’t we asking too much from people to pull out their phone constantly to engage with us?
Data will give us the answer. No matter, the advertising innovation train continues to speed up. Hold on tight, it will only get faster.
Everybody is talking about creativity. When politicians start talking about creativity, you know we’re in the middle of a creativity bubble.
What does creativity look like? Where should it come from? Who’s responsible? How best to harness it?
In a client-agency relationship, the creative department is typically tasked to express creativity and keep it limited to that department. What’s the purpose of creativity within an agency?
Is the model of creativity a new idea support model that we can sell to clients? Is it a model focused on consolidating creative output within core, traditionally creative functions? Resulting in hiring ‘creative’ people who act different than the rest of us.
Or should we expand this model and give everyone in the agency the opportunity to be ‘creative’, whatever your title or rank? This model requires that creativity becomes more accessible, more within reach for those who don’t traditionally regard themselves to be ‘creative’ for whatever reason.
We need both.
I bet there’s no agency in the world that doesn’t want more creativity at its centre. At the same, viewing creativity solely as the preserve of a certain ‘type’ is all wrong, and probably cuts you off from potential value people can bring. Because a creative organization places creativity within the reach of everyone.
Creativity is about making new connections. And much more: Creativity is open-ended. Creativity is never finished, or a box you can tick. It relies on knowing more stuff so that you can make more connections.
Which raises an interesting question:
Do agencies really want creativity?
Creativity can actually be harnessed pretty simply given the right processes and a certain level of organizational commitment. If more connections come from knowing stuff, then agencies need to create a culture of curiosity.
Which is much harder.
Curiosity is an innate motivation. It’s established early in your childhood. You can’t brainstorm yourself to curiosity. It comes from people and can’t be engineered. It might be stimulated through feedback. It shouldn’t be considered as its own reward. It should be required as a basic mindset to be regarded for an agency job.
Should there be a Curiosity Director? A Curiosity department?
Only 25% of people believe they are living up to their potential to be creative, and more than 75% of people feel that their countries are not living up to their collective potential to be creative.
Are you a 25%er?