Q: Should the rules differ when dealing with creative staff? (Part two)

Creative people are different. They are non-conformists, eccentric and difficult to manage. Yet, they are a prized possession of any company in the business of selling ideas. And the world owes many memorable creative executions to these otherwise intolerable personalities. Creative ideas make the difference between a successful marketing campaign and a monumental flop.

Creative ideas also make a difference in many other areas of human existence. Special events, for instance, have become increasingly a game of creativity: the most memorable events are those that were the most “creative”.

Success depends on that one creative idea – the one concept that makes the difference between a boring crowd and a fantabulous experience that’s hard to forget. Experience is the key word here. The challenge is, of course, making sure the ideas are not too far out of this world. We have seen too many instances where the tail was wagging the dog. Like when marketing strategies are built around a cute advertising concept, or worse, a sexy talent.

How is that achieved? Not too difficult, actually. Play the bad cop role. Forget the good cop. Creative people do not need a good cop to tell them they can go wild with their ideas. It’s like putting wild horses in a corral, they can hee-haw all they want, as long as they stay inside the fence.

Here’s a neat trick: hold a “wild” brainstorming session first. Let all the crazy ideas come out. Write them all down. Let everyone have fun. Have more than a few laughs. And when they have expended their creative and other energies, hold a second session where you can be cold and sober. Kill all the wild ideas and pursue the more promising ones. Invariably there will be plenty of both. And inevitably, there will be a consensus on which one would be the obvious best choice – the one idea that will make the experience memorable for the target end-user. Ultimately, it all boils down to experience.



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