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ad:tech Chicago – Keys to Removing Creativity Roadblocks

Posted on Jul 31st, 2007
Written by TopRank Marketing
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    Note from Editor: This week, TopRank Account Manager, Jolina Pettice is attending the ad:tech conference in Chicago. Along with her formidable knowledge gathering and networking duties, Jolina is also providing blog coverage of several sessions. Enjoy!

    This morning I attended an absolutely fantastic session entitled: Aha! How to Ignite a Creative Spark at your Next Brainstorming Session presented by Jordan Ayan, CEO & Founder of SubscriberMail, LLC.

    Creativity and the ability to be creative is a topic we have been discussing at TopRank quite a bit lately in order to provide the most effective campaigns and tactics for our clients.

    However, we all run into creative roadblocks now and again. A common roadblock to creativity is what Ayan refers to as “Mental Models” and “Patterned Thinking”.

    One of the first step Ayan led us through was letting go of our mental baggage by writing them all down on a colorful piece of paper. For fun, my ‘mental baggage’ – or those items I was thinking about and therefore could cloud my creativity – included the new blister on my foot and wanting to play with the creativity dice we were given.

    Ayan then had us fold our mental baggage into a paper airplane, stand up and aim at a target at the front of the room. 1, 2, 3, let them fly. Only one ‘plane’ even came close and that’s because one very creative attendee wadded his plane up into a ball to get closer to his target! Aha! – He broke the mental mold of the paper airplane, changed the form of his paper to reach the objective and won free copy of Ayan’s book – Aha!

    The Torrence Test of Creative Thinking explains why we follow these mental models through research. The test discovered that originality scores in creatively markedly decrease as we age. Research found the following decline in creativity across age groups:

    Age 5 – 90%
    Age 7 – 20%
    Age 45 – 2%

    Why is this? Because, the more we are exposed to schools, social norms, the business world the more we are trained and told how to think leading to patterned thinking which blocks our creativity ability.

    Within organizations creativity is key and brainstorming is often an activity used to develop and nurture new ideas. Ayan recommends the following 8 brainstorming keys:

    1. Have Fun – if it’s too serious, breakthroughs will be rare
    2. State the Goal – make sure you have identified the problem
    3. Challenge Assumptions – eliminate any assumptions built into the statement to ensure that you are solving the right problem
    4. No Premature Evaluation – no compliments, criticism or questions
    5. ‘Wild’ Ideas Are Welcome – all ideas have possibilities so don’t limit yourself or your team
    6. Don’t Wait – an approved forum for interrupting co-workers and blurting out ideas as they come to mind
    7. Quantity is Key – the more you produce, the better the chance you’ll find the gem
    8. Piggyback on Others’ Ideas – combine, modify and expand on other ideas to create new ones

    These steps should help us all get more creative enabling us create more creative and effective strategies and tactics for our clients. What examples of a creative campaign/tactic have you deployed recently?

    You can find even more coverage of the Chicago 2007 ad:tech conference on the ad:tech blog.