Creativity: an ode to joy, not a song to drudgery

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Imagine if Ludwig van Beethoven were around today. With so many distractions and crazy growing technology, would he be as musically creative as when he was only surrounded by his imagination, piano keys and silence?

The truth is… it’s never been easier to create dull, flat work. It’s so simple to copy others by using online tools, before you know it, everyone’s regurgitating previous work and claiming it’s theirs. People like to think that all our answers are on Google or places like Pinterest but this is what gets in the way of original thinking. The digital world is where the uncreative, clogged up arteries of the industry lie. The more you send your searchlights into the gloom of a well-trodden search engine, the more derivative you seem to get.

It all starts with you being told that it’s easy to generate ideas, when building new ones is bloody and hard. When you’re involved in any kind of creative process you have to remind yourself of this. The pressure of easy is the first speed bump in the road, the first stumble in the process.

There aren’t any shortcuts; it’s impossible to be the same but different. Reskinning someone else’s idea isn’t clever, it’s just sheer laziness. And it’ll eventually leave you feeling a little empty about your work. The complete opposite of why you chose to do this kind of  work in the first place.

Great ideas, at the end of the day, are all about engaging with our audience and enriching people’s lives. A great experience will leave you feeling special. Think about the first time you unboxed an iPhone or when you shared a great piece of advertising. That brand became part of your world and it gave you something back under the shape and form of an emotion.

And you shared it. No one wants to share yesterday’s news.

To connect and talk to human beings takes a superhuman effort, not a superhuman. It’s achievable. Beware. If you follow the same path as everyone else, don’t be surprised when the journey takes you to the same place.

Think about what your client’s audience needs and not what the client or your boss wants. Then try and talk to them. Have an opinion and show it in your work, whether you’re an Art Director, Copywriter, Designer  or whatever your job title labels you as.

More people need to be brilliant despite the industry.

What does it take to be one of them?

- Turn your computer off, unplug everything around you and switch your mind on. Ditch the habit of looking for inspiration online, this is the den of other people’s work.

- Question the brief as an end user, not a client. Always ask yourself if the result can be emotional and make a splash.

- Try new things and be inspired by them. I’m not suggesting tackling an extreme sport every day; even changing your commute to work can help you change your mindset.

- Share half-finished ideas with your colleagues and clients and allow others to improve them. Invite different opinions and experiences to shape them. By working collaboratively, you can deliver more value and insights.

- Surround yourself with creativity in any shape or form. There’s an entire world out there waiting to be discovered. Listen to music and let it guide you.

- Explore how creativity can work in other fields and be open to soaking up new information. You’ll be surprised how this can help.

There may be many Beethovens in the world, but how we use our mind vs. relying on tech is the difference between success or failure, happiness or boredom, a masterpiece or a complete dog.




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