Right..brainstorm in 20 minutes...come up with some brilliant ideas! A room armed with the inevitable whiteboard and multicoloured felt tips is at the ready, Staff are wrenched away from their screens and day to day stuff and tasked to come up with inspirational, whizzy creative ideas for an hour and then slink back to their desks.
Great ideas are far and few between and most are a copy of something else. What really is important is how the ideas are linked to the business strategy. Will that idea make people take notice and engage? Take Movember for example. Great idea, grow moustache to draw attention to and raise funds for prostate cancer. Movember has now morphed into a 'man month' for all things male from depression to various cancers. The moustache was the brilliant 'creative' idea but the strategy behind the idea was key.
Now it has become a catchall for men's health, building on the awareness it has created through one simple idea.
Creativity has a part to play but more important are the goals, targets and communication strategy that the organisation wants to achieve. If this thinking is not put in place first then that 'great idea' can be catastrophic!
Here are some 'great ideas' that went wrong.
Lauuching the 'Krispy Kreme Klub'....translated into KKK
Bud Light campaign: #upForWhatever. Tagline "Removing 'no'from your vocabulary for the night"
Snapple; To make the worlds largest popsicle in the world in NYC in their new tea flavour. Before they could get it upright for the Guinness book of records to measure it, the popsicle melted. Sanitation workers spent hours trying to hose away the mess.
Yes, we need creativity but not to the exclusion of proper analysis and strategic thought which includes 'what outcome are we looking for here?'
Last week I came across the first sign that creativity worship may have peaked. Fast Company published an article entitled “How to be less creative at work, and why you sometimes should”. It argued that too much creativity can make you a nuisance to your boss, and that often the smart thing for a business is to forget new ideas and go on doing what it is doing. Last week Kantar Media, owned by WPP, invited all its employees to gather in rooms on different continents and play with Lego to construct their versions of an “extraordinary world”. Did they find pretending to be kids with colourful bricks unleashed a gale of creativity? One member of staff emailed to tell me about the dismal day, writing in the subject line: “the most nonsensical thing that ever happened in my workplace”.