“There are only two kinds of artists: the plagiarists and the revolutionaries." -Paul Gauguin
The creative process consists of our adopting four main roles, each of which embodies a different type of thinking.
First off, you as a creative thinker need the raw materials from which ideas are made: facts, concepts, experiences, knowledge, feelings and whatever else you can find. You can look for these in the same old places. However, you're much more likely to find something original if you venture off the beaten path. So, you become an explorer and look for the materials you’ll use to build your idea.
The ideas you gather will be like so many pieces of colored glass at the end of a kaleidoscope. They may form a pattern, but if you want something new and different, you'll have to give them a twist or two. That's when you shift roles and let the artist in you come out. You experiment with a variety of approaches. You follow your intuition. You rearrange things, look at them backwards, and turn them upside down. You ask what-if questions, look for hidden analogies. You may even break the rules or create your own. After all of this you come up with a new idea.
Now you ask yourself, "Is this idea any good? Is it worth pursuing? Will it give me the return I want? Do I have the resources to make this happen?" To help you make your decision, you adopt the mindset of a judge. During your evaluation, you critically weigh the evidence. You look for drawbacks in the idea, and wonder if the timing is right. You run risk analyses, question your assumptions, and listen to your gut. Ultimately you make a decision.
Finally it's time to implement your idea. You realize, however, that the world isn't set up to accommodate every new idea that comes along. As a matter of fact, there's a lot of competition out there. If you want your idea to succeed, you'll have to take the offensive. So, you become a warrior and take your idea into battle. As a warrior, you're part general and part foot-soldier. You develop your strategy, and commit yourself to reaching your objective. You also have the discipline to slog it out in the trenches. You may have to overcome excuses, idea killers, temporary setbacks, and other obstacles. But you have the courage to do what’s necessary to make your idea a reality.
-When you’re searching for new information, be an Explorer.
-When you’re turning your resources into new ideas, be an Artist.
-When you're evaluating the merits of an idea, be a Judge.
-When you’re carrying your idea into action, be a Warrior.
Viewed together, these four roles are your creative team for generating and implementing new ideas. Of course, the pattern for most of the things you create won't always be this linear progression of explorer-to-artist-to-judge-to-warrior. Usually there's a fair amount of shifting back and forth between the roles. Given a concept to develop or a problem to solve, some people start as the artist and jump back and forth to the explorer and the judge until they reach their objective. Others do it just the reverse. In general, however, you'll be using your explorer more in the early stages of the creative process, your artist and judge more in the middle, and your warrior toward the end.
A Kick In The Seat Of The Pants –
Using Your Explorer, Artist, Judge & Warrior To Be More Creative –Roger von Oech
“I saw a subliminal advertising executive, but only for a second." -Steven Wright
The deep and enduring wisdom of knock-knock jokes.
Consider these one-liners from stand-up comedian Steven Wright: "If a cow laughed, would milk come out her nose? ... When you open a new bag of cotton balls, are you supposed to throw the top one away? ... When your pet bird sees you reading the newspaper, does he wonder why you're just sitting there staring at carpeting?"
Freud said that laughter is the release of tension, which may be why jumping from one point of view to another and introducing a sudden new interpretation adds a nice tension and release to the architecture of an ad. That very tension involves the viewer more than a simple expository statement of the same facts.
Creative theorist Arthur Koestler noted that a person, on hearing a joke, is "compelled to repeat to some extent the process of inventing the joke, to re-create it in his imagination." Authors McAlhone and Stuart add, "An idea that happens in the mind stays in the mind ... it leaves a stronger trace. People can remember that flash moment, the click, and re-create the pleasure just by thinking about it."
We're not the first people to notice this stuff. A third-century writer named Lactantius said, “Anything pleasant easily persuades, and while it gives pleasure fixes itself in the heart.”
A good example of how to create this "smile in the mind" is Chiat\Day's classic Nynex television campaign. One of the first commercials opens on an easy chair set in a flat white background. Suddenly it's illuminated by the bright circle of a nightclub spotlight and "stripping music" begins to play. The chair begins to "undress." The doilies fly off, then the arm padding, finally the cushion covers. There's a fast cut to the Nynex Yellow Pages as the camera whips in for a close-up of one of its many business categories: "Furniture Stripping." The book slams shut and a voice-over says: "The Nynex Yellow Pages. If it's out there, it's in here."
Jokes make us laugh by introducing the unexpected. An ad can work the same way.
Don't set out to be funny. Set out to be interesting. Funny is a subset of interesting. Funny isn't a language. Funny is an accent. And funny may not even be the right accent.
I find it interesting that the Clio Awards had a category called "Best Use of Humor." And, curiously, no "Best Use of Seriousness." Funny, serious, heartfelt - none of it matters if you aren't interesting first. Howard Gossage, a famous ad person from the '50s, said, "People read what interests them; and sometimes it's an ad."
Hey, Whipple Squeeze This – A guide to creating Great Ads
Jump Elephant Jump
“God is really only another artist. He invented the giraffe, the elephant, and the cat. He has no real style. He just keeps on trying other things.” -Pablo Picasso
Sparks of creativity often flow from new knowledge. Frequently it's information about things that are completely new to you. Sometimes, it's new facts about familiar things. And sometimes it's information about things that you didn't know you didn't know. This last category, usually filled with items that are silly and fanciful, can provide a platform for your imagination to jump from.
So here I present the: "Things you didn't know you didn't know" section.
(or the alternately titled: "Trivia to win bar bets" section).
Do Elephants Jump?
Most elephant experts think it is physiologically impossible for a mature elephant to jump, although baby elephants have been known to do so, if provoked. Not only do mature elephants weigh too much to support landing on all fours, but their legs are designed for strength rather than leaping ability. Mark Grunwald, who has worked with elephants for more than a decade at the Philadelphia Zoo, notes that elephants' bone structure makes it difficult for them to bend their legs sufficiently to derive enough force to propel the big lugs up.
Yet there are a few sightings of elephants jumping in the wild. Animals that are fast runners or possess great leaping ability have usually evolved these skills as a way of evading attackers. Elephants don't have any natural predators, according to the San Diego Wild Animal Park's manager of animals, Alan Rooscroft: "Only men kill elephants. The only other thing that could kill an elephant is a fourteen ton tiger."
Most of the experts agree with zoologist Richard Landesman of the University of Vermont, that there is little reason for an elephant to jump in its natural habitat. Indeed, Mike Zulak, an elephant curator at the San Diego Zoo, observes that pachyderms are rather awkward walkers, and can lose their balance easily, so they tend to be conservative in their movements. Why bother jumping when you can walk through or around just about everything in your natural habitat?
Why leap when you can trudge?
Do Elephants Jump? An imponderable book – David Feldman