How many ideas have you rejected this week? It’s tough to keep track given the velocity they come at us. (Heck, we get bombarded with 34 gigabytes of information including 100,000 words a day, not to mention what we think up for ourselves.) As children most of us were thoroughly trained to censor our thoughts before letting go with the ridicule inducing comment. (The Cubs are going to win the pennant! – ah, some of us never learn.) This sometimes serves us well. In the world of ideas it can be deadly. Ideas are fragile things in business. Any number of stray comments, poor politics, and concerted efforts at logic can drive a good idea (and it’s conceiver) into the mud. Problem is, most of the tools we use early on to sift through ideas are little more than personal opinion. But decisions must be made and so politics end … Continue reading
From the ideas from strange places department: Papaw didn’t get out to use his grill early enough this year and so someone else set up shop. Now, some would have said it is a bad idea to build a nest in a grill with summer parties around the corner. But mom and dad bird had a different idea. Metal roof. Small perfectly sized entrance. Back door for fast escape. Seems perfectly modern. In some places this would not have ended well. All the work disposed of to make room for ribs and burgers. But in this case they have found my in-laws, warm hearted folks who admire the birds creativity, spunk and stick-to-itiveness. So the new residents are protected and safe until they take flight. Even the dog is on watch for four-legged prowlers. Nature has a great way of finding new uses for under-used nooks and crannies. Discovering the … Continue reading
Just one, really? Shouldn’t every department have creative sparks flying? I mean, you have hundreds of creative people in your organization. They discover things like solutions, work-arounds, sales pitches and efficiencies everyday. They just may not work with oil paints, colored pencils or Macs. Are you telling some that they are not creative by having a Creative Department? New FrogBlog Creativity Manifesto: All Department Names Will Include The Term ‘Creative.’ Could adding ‘creative’ to department names be freeing?
Quiznos’ new ad campaign. It made me laugh. But it did not make me hungry. Does that make it a bad ad? Attempting to get noticed, brand managers approve creative that some consider edgy – others decry as bad taste or even indecent. (In this case Quiznos’ approved a bit of locker room humor that intentionally ties a sub to a male body part. There are at least two versions, one slightly sanitized for earlier time slots.) Sometimes edgy works brilliantly, and sometimes it falls flat. The definition of edgy is high risk, but to be honest safe campaigns fail all the time as well. (Nothing risky about the bland Tropicana package redesign, right? Wrong.)
Rules of thumb often have unintended consequences. Several large organizations I’ve worked for instituted a $20 million in revenue hurdle. (The $ figure was sometimes higher, sometimes lower — but always a significant percentage of existing revenue.) The thought process is pretty straight forward: Why bother with an idea if it can’t make a meaningful contribution to overall revenue. In one fell swoop upper management gets to weed out ‘insignificant’ ideas and focus their attention on ‘ideas that matter’ and their golf game. Problem is – It is very difficult to get a consensus on the revenue potential of a game changer. Net Result? – The revenue hurdle takes on a life of its own. It becomes shorthand at every level of the organization. Ideas that masquerade as innovation (but are actually just obvious, competitively predictable business moves) float to the top.