/// You know the cliché. ‘Ideas can come from anywhere.’

April 11, 2011  |  Blog

By Rishi Dastidar

You know the cliché. ‘Ideas can come from anywhere.’

Of course they can.

Bad ideas can come from anywhere.

Good ideas however, ideas that can transform your business or organisation; well, they’re a little harder to nurture.

Ideas are a manifestation of thinking.

And that means they can only ever be good as your thinking, and crucially, the conditions you create for it.

Good ideas don’t come from nowhere. If you want to make sure you start having better ideas in your building, regularly, here are a few rules of thumb that can help.

You don’t have to follow them slavishly – I mean, every rule is there to be broken, right? – but they just might help you not to think out of the box, but stamp it into fine dust particles instead:

  1. Who’s the idea for?

Do you understand them, what makes them tick, what motivates them? Do you know whether they need to be challenged, or whether you need to keep things safe for them? If you don’t know that, you’re not ready to have an idea yet.

2.   Give the people who are doing the thinking space to play, space to experiment and, most crucially, space to fail

Creative thinking is by definition, messy and fallible. You might not get a home run with every idea; but you’ll massively increase your RBI if you don’t hover over people’s shoulders interfering and demanding progress updates. 

3.  But that doesn’t mean your creatives should just be sitting round

They should be doing lots of thinking, and fast. Our creative partner leads by the mantra, ‘Be brilliant, do loads’. That’s a great approach for anyone to adopt.

4.  Doing lots quickly means you shouldn’t worry about how ‘finished’ the ideas are when you first see them

Better a hand-drawn picture than a fully-realised visual, a paper model is better than a working prototype. Not least because a) it means people can spend more time thinking rather than making things look good and b) there’s space for you to input your ideas. I’m not saying craft isn’t important, but if the idea is too finished, you won’t be able to add to it or improve it.

5.  If you don’t want a radical solution, don’t brief one in

That just makes creatives angry. We don’t mind parameters. But we do mind if you apply them after we’ve shown you our first thoughts. Be bold – we have been.

If you want great ideas, trust the people you’ve hired to be creative to be creative.Then back their vision all the way.

Rishi Dastidar is a copywriter in the London office of integrated advertising agency archibald ingall stretton. He writes here in a personal capacity.

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