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Dry water palette case to illustrate creative thinking

Creative thinking is everyone’s responsibility. That’s why we haven’t run out of ideas

It’s no surprise that creativity is at play every day at Pead. Whether we are developing a strategy for a new client or project, stretching a small budget to get big results or putting together a great piece of content; creative thinking reigns in every corner and at all levels of our business.

You see, our ideas (teamed with great execution and experience of course) are our product. We’ve delivered thousands of creative campaigns for our clients over the last 18 years and we are yet to turn away a client because ‘we’ve run out of ideas’.

So how do we keep up the pace and feed the elusive creative beast?

We Share the Elephant

You know the saying about eating an elephant one bite at a time? I’ve always wondered why the writer of that proverb didn’t suggest inviting your friends over for dinner instead.

Creativity is in many ways like an elephant. Sure, one person can take it one bite at a time but there’s probably only so long they can do that for. We’ve found it is much better to share the proverbial elephant across every person in the business.

From interns to our seasoned pros – everyone has something to contribute. We don’t have a dedicated creative director because we don’t believe creative thinking is the domain of just one person.

Many agencies in the creative space will disagree and I am certainly not suggesting that having designated creatives is wrong. We just know what works for us in our business right now.

Speaking up is Part of the Culture

Of course, sharing the elephant means making sure people feel like they can speak up. It can be scary to put your ideas out there. I will never forget doing a campaign for a client which required a big idea and our best and most creative minds were struggling to come up with the best approach.

As we always do, we invited people from all levels within the agency to attend brainstorms and in this case, it yielded the winning idea. One of our account executives suggested launching this new product with a human claw machine. It was a good reminder that job titles and experience have little to do with creative thinking and that we need to foster an environment where everyone feels confident to shout out their idea no matter their role in the business.

It is a cliché but the phrase ‘no idea is a bad idea in a brainstorm’ couldn’t be truer. I’ve had some great ideas over the years, but I have also had a ton of terrible ones that haven’t seen the light of day. Sometimes throwing it all out there has sparked an idea for someone else and that is what collaboration is all about. We can’t always eat the elephant by ourselves.

We Let Creativity Colour Outside The Lines

There’s a need to be mindful of how we define creative thinking. People tend to view creativity as something that only exists in specific contexts which is why some people tell themselves that they are not creative. If you can paint, dance or write then you are ‘creative’. But if you are an amazing cook or have come up with clever ways to save money then we often label it as something else.

If the determining factor of creativity is the ability to draw, then I’m as uncreative as they come. I find however that I can tap into my creative brain when I’m running. Anyone who has ever run any type of distance will know the feeling of hitting a wall or just not feeling good on the run. This is when my creative thinking clicks in. If I’m running up a steep hill, I visualise a giant rubber band around my waist that’s tied to the top of the hill and is slowly pulling me up. Other times, when I’m not too far from the end but I feel flat, I start to imagine the full cooked breakfast I am going to have when I’m done. Eggs, hash browns, bacon…can you smell it?  Call it self-motivation, but when you’re tired and still have 5km to go, it’s creativity in my book!

I truly believe we are all innovative in different ways and that we need to keep creativity inclusive. Creativity is not bound to specific activities (or to elephants for that matter). Creativity is something that we all do in our own unique way.

We Recognise That Creative Thinking Comes In All Sizes

Small flashes of creativity happen every day. The clever media pitch, a campaign on a shoestring, the question that brings a whole strategy into focus…all of these are inherently creative, but they’re never celebrated as often as a big exciting idea.

We recently did a campaign for a food & drink client.  The budget was tight, so we needed to think smart. We knew we had a great narrative and that if we could come up with creative ways of telling the story to different publications, we had a real shot at getting a great result.  Although this was a product launch we decided to pitch a business and innovation story instead of positioning it as a launch. This paid off in bucket loads as we managed to secure 17 articles and a few new business leads for the client.

It was creativity that got us these results. There was nothing flashy. No big elephant. Just a small, but mighty, use of creativity.   

Creativity is a natural resource that we all have access to. It isn’t some divine power or an elusive apparition outside of our control; it is something we generate ourselves.

The key to utilising creativity in business is getting the conditions right. Your culture, systems, and people all have an impact on this; and leaders have a huge part to play.

Creative thinking is everywhere – recognising it is the first step towards fostering it.

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