When you work in a busy creative agency, ideas are super important – but coming up with them is a strange old process and can be very different for people.
I come up with most of my ideas when watching things (I’m a video producer). I like to go down a rabbit hole on the internet and see where it takes me. This can be watching stuff that’s relevant to the client/subject, but I often find myself looking at pretty random things including cat videos (you never know). Then I collate little nuggets and sparks from all around to make an idea. These sparks can come from anywhere; just a line dialogue, a shot that could be expanded out to a whole film to a piece of music, something that makes me feel a certain way. Sometimes I watch something and I think, ‘Well I just want to do the opposite of that.’
It’s sometimes easy to come up with ideas when asked, like ‘poof – here is something my brain just thought of!’ But, to be fair, for me that doesn’t really happen that often. I need a spring board and a bit of time.
I’ve had ideas late at night; you know when you’re just about to fall asleep and your mind starts to wander then ‘bam!’ You find yourself thinking about that project and away you go into a spiral of random ideas. There have been many a time of scaring my wife as I’ve shot out bed to grab a pen and paper to write something down (full disclosure: I often look at it again in the morning and have no idea what I was thinking).
In the car, just driving along is good place for idea generation and I have actually thought of some good ones (whilst obviously concentrating on the road). I am worried that I look like a crazy person when this is happening though because I have a tendency to talk to myself whilst in what I call my ‘moving fortress of solitude.’
But I think my favourite way of generating ideas is just talking to people. It’s great working with such a creative team and having conversations about projects – a great way to reframe your thinking because often people are coming at the challenge from a different viewpoints. Everyone’s different and so everyone’s had different experiences that make you think about a project in all kinds of weird and wonderful ways (at Idenna, lizards are normally mentioned, and nunchucks).
I think it’s especially important in today’s media environment that ideas are created to be front and centre of everyone’s mind (pun intended). As technology progresses and the challenges of the ever growing demand for content ramps up, thinking differently and creating things that make the audience feel things – that cut through the rest of the noise – is all about great ideas.
It doesn’t matter what kind project you are working on; being brave with your ideas is so important. It doesn’t matter if some people don’t like them, because the right people love them. The worst thing you can be is just ‘meh.’