Last Thursday I went to the latest instalment of The Marketing Society’s ‘Inspiring Minds’ programme - Inspiring Creativity.
Being a young creative, I think it’s really important to attend as many industry events as possible. But when the three speakers are three of the greatest creative minds in Scotland, I think it’s extra important.
These are the kind of people who have the answers to the questions in my mind – Where do you get your ideas from? How do you get past a creative brick wall? What do you do when your mum asks, “What is it you do, again? ”for the 478thtime?...
But even after studying at art school, graduating and working for a couple of years, one question still remains rooted to the top of my mind – what exactly is creativity?
There’s a notion that ‘creativity’ is exclusively for a select group of people. A group of people who drink too much coffee, roll their trousers halfway up their shins and only like bands that you and I have never heard of. But one thing that all three speakers agreed on was that that notion is nonsense. Creativity is for everyone, and anyone can have a creative idea.
One of the speakers, Rod Gillies, summed it up perfectly by saying that creativity is not a personality trait – it’s a set of mental tools that anyone can employ. And given that anyone can employ those tools, he doesn’t just ‘not like’ hearing people say they’re not creative – it actually angers him. For Rod, creativity is a part of everyone’s job, and it should be something that everyone is doing. He gave the good point that you wouldn’t hear an accountant say they’re ‘not good with emails’, and the same thing applies with creativity.
But whilst anyone can be creative, not everyone is. Hilary Joiner talked about creativity being one of the most challenging but rewarding parts of our industry, and her understanding as to why some people don’t class themselves as creative. For me, self-doubt can often be the reason. Putting your creative ideas (and yourself) ‘out there’ can be hard – what if people don’t think your ideas are any good?
But the reality is that there’s no such thing as a bad idea – only the kernel of a good one. Whether it was Mark Gorman’s story of his old agencies less-than-successful promotional videos, or Rod’s account of how he came to invent Strongbow’s Cloudy Apple, both of them talked about the merit of a ‘bad’ idea.
With all that in mind, if I were to summarise the three talks into a couple of succinct takeaways, it’d look something like this:
1. Anyone can have a creative idea, not just those who have ‘creative’ in their job title.
2. There’s no such thing as a bad idea (just a bad start to a good idea).
So, whilst my mum still may struggle to understand exactly what I do for a living, hearing some of the greatest creative minds in Scotland talk about their understanding of what creativity is has certainly made my understanding a little clearer.
By Ollie Adams, Creative at WIRE
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