As we leave the Information Age to enter the Conceptual Age, we need a new kind of hero. Dan Pink declares in A Whole New Mind that right-brainers will rule the future. Creative ideas are the currency successful marketers use to elevate their firm, stretch their budget and build their brand. But unlike superheros, creative ideas don’t just magically appear when you need them. Similar to Bruce Wayne entering the batcave to become Batman, here is a process that will transcend you from mere mortal into Creative Superhero.

1. Define the Task – First you must determine what is needed, why now, who is it for, and what resources are available. Creativity also craves boundaries (like a deadline and budget.) Be sure to elicit early support from anyone that can approve or reject your ideas. This phase should culminate in a creative brief that will be a target to use when measuring possible solutions. For a free sample of a creative brief template that we use at LecoursDesign, click here.

2. Investigate – Immerse yourself in your audience’s world and ask illuminating questions. Within the answers, creative solutions will begin to emerge. Search for a way to connect with your audience on an emotional level.

3. Create – Let the ideas flow by focusing on quantity over quality. I heed an image on my studio wall that says “Do Not Fall in Love with Your First Idea.” There are no bad nor perfect ideas. Make it playful and fun. Break this phase up into several short sessions and always be ready to capture ideas in between. Be sure to drink from a well of creative inspiration because output is directly related to input. Silence your inner critic “faster than a speeding bullet” or it will weaken you like Kryptonite.

4. Incubate – Leave your initial ideas alone for a day or two. There’s a reason people say they get their best ideas in the shower, on a walk, or while driving. The subconscious mind is powerful if you just let it emerge.

5. Analyze – Eliminate the weaker solutions from phase 3. Watch for safe ideas that your boss or client may like but you know aren’t exceptional. Don’t let the good get in the way of the great.

6. Refine – Prototype and refine the top 2-3 solutions while continually looking for improvements. If stuck, review the brief from phase 1.

7. Deliver – Make a big deal of presenting your ideas. Give them the reverence they deserve by presenting in person. Anticipate any concerns before presenting.

8. Measure – Create a feedback loop by measuring success against the objectives established in phase 1 for continual improvement.

We are all creative and I believe that innovating is a learned skill. Batman used his ingenuity to design the Batmobile and other cool gadgets to give him a competitive advantage. Nurturing your creativity can do the same for you.

Would you like me to lead an interactive in-house seminar or deliver a keynote speech to your organization on this topic? E-mail me to discuss.

* A / E / C = Architecture, Engineering, & Construction (but you already knew that)
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