Sirena Huang at TED.
Robbie Maddison in freefall.
I tend to get a little skeptical when hearing simplistic explanations of creativity. I believe there is nothing simple about it.
So, for me, any discussion regarding how to get creative, or inspire creativity, in B2B Marcom has to get extremely complex and rich. Don't tell me that we simply need to be more child-like, or that we just need to let ourselves go. When people say that children aren't afraid to fail - that's generally true. Adults HAVE to be afraid to fail. A child never was stripped of their dignity and self-worth during a layoff. A child never watched a friend's or sibling's marriage dissolve because the wife lost respect for her husband - because he lost respect for himself. A child never held in their heart, for decades, the dream of owning a vacation home - achieving it - only to lose it in an economic downturn. Face it, we adults carry a lot of baggage. This baggage makes us careful and, yes, fearful.
People tell us that, to make great achievements, we must not be afraid to fail. That's wrong. The consequences of entering uncharted territory include fear. It is this fear that helps us assemble our many resources in order to properly think the project through. Fear makes us dig deep for ANY extra bit of knowledge, awareness, and inspiration that may be crucial to a successful outcome. Robbie Maddison has fear - and he used it to achieve an extreme feat, not once , not twice, but MANY times.
Sirena Huang had nowhere near as much true fear when she put on this amazing display of talent and creativity. No doubt that she is amazingly talented and creative, but it comes from a different place than the talent of Robbie Maddison.
So, don't try to eliminate all fear, or kick yourself if you are fearful. Instead, use it. Channel it to make you focus, work harder, and do more research.
I believe that hope is an undervalued element of creativity. An intense "hope" that you will achieve something special is very valuable. This hope can drive you to think long and hard about your project. Hope can allow you to see yourself achieving more. Hope can give you the energy to persevere when you aren't yet able to see the path forward.
I believe that curiousity alone is only a precursor to creativity. Your curiousity has to be channeled (eventually) if it is to contribute to your focused output. And I feel that curiousity drives imagination. So, combining these forces with a goal can be very productive.
In B2B Marcom we typically aren't looking for, nor can we use, just any cool thing that drops out of a creative session. Usually we are seeking the answer to a specific challenge, issue, or problem. For example, we need to get people to evaluate our new product, or revive a flagging brand - specific assignments. So, simply running through the woods with our minds wide open for anything creative to flow in or spontaneously arise, isn't what we are all about. This is why we need to be goal oriented. A creative B2B Marcom solves a specific problem (a client's or something homegrown) on a schedule.
I believe that several elements must be present, in a complex blend, to produce B2B Marcom creativity. I recommend:
- Begin at the end. Be goal-oriented.
- Channel your fear. Use it to make you better, more thorough, more informed, and more powerful like Robbie Maddison.
- Tap into your natural talent and the encouragement of your network - like Sirena.
- Use the energy of hope, curiousity, and imagination. Let the visions and emotions lift you.
- Let EVERY feeling and emotion you have serve you.
In essence - take what you have, what you are, and put it to work for you. It will ultimately become your unique brand of creativity - a style of creativity that becomes known as you.
Please share you thoughts.