"As Don Draper sat crossed-legged, on a cliff top at the show’s finale his wry smile suggested he’d seemingly just imagined the 1971 “Buy the World a Coke” advertisement."
You remember the one? “I’d like to teach the world to sing (in perfect harmony)”…
And that’s what the programme makers wanted.
To portray creativity as divine inspiration.
Handed only to those who can free the mind and are comfortable wearing white linen trousers.
But even the fictional character Don Draper, Stirling Cooper Draper Price’s long-standing Creative Director, had done the hard yards.
Decades of listening attentively to clients.
Understanding their business objectives.
Knowing as much about competitors and seeking a market competitive advantage.
And so, here’s the first important lesson.
Yes, the act of creativity can be spontaneous. Innovative ideas and the act of divinity however, without guidance, how will you know what to create?
Martin Richardson and I talk together in this video about how it seems illogical to constrict creativity with rules and behaviours; by making this procedural.
But starting the ‘process’ correctly gives you context.
A strong foundation to support your ideas.
From here creativity will come; and ideas will have purpose and meaning.
And this leads us neatly to a second tip.
The idea isn’t the end.
Don’t hasten the creative process by feeling satisfied with one or a handful of great ideas.
And in some sense, this guidance seems counterintuitive, much as the illogicality of a creative process in the first place, but sharing an idea allows it to be nurtured and improved by others who’ll offer different perspectives.
Either new insight into the problem(s) to be overcome, or;
A slight adaptation, an alternative approach that you might not have seen having been so close yourself.
But do the work first.
Follow a procedure.
Start at the beginning.
Build a strong foundation by being clear about what you’re aiming to achieve.
Give yourself permission to accept contributions made by others.
Allow time for this.
And so, on reflection, trust that actually there isn’t a universal process to unlock creativity.
It’s more a sequence.