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Roadtesting: Who Killed Creativity?

October 4, 2012

Who Killed Creativity

As someone who carries a title of ‘unashamedly creative’ and talks about being a ‘creative copywriter’ choosing a book called “Who Killed Creativity?” seemed like a logical thing to do.

I was super sceptical at first when it talked about paralleling crime scenes and psychological profiling with the creative process but having now finished it, I am really, really pleased with this book.

Having read a heap of business, marketing, abnormal psychology and general “how to deal with being a human” books in my time, I believe in the really strong, emotional connection we humans have with the communication we receive- and that marketing is one of the most often discarded display of this power around.

I’m not talking about the whole “if you see the colour red you get hungry” stuff, which by the way I am a non believer of considering I am colour blind. Or the whole “you too can selfishly leverage your friendships to hawk sheets, make-up and other junk” style of manipulation found in pyramid selling. But the actual true connect we make to the things we see around us. Like you won’t pick a brand if it seems unethical, irrelevant or like it’s putting you down unless secretly that’s what you want level. And it’s those moments of rejection that create parody marketing, crazy copy and a whole host of other things.

But I digress… the book!

I found myself writing down creative ideas, blog post titles, solutions to things that had plagued me and generally gave me a sense of actually being creative in a business sense again. A lot of the time it’s too much creativity, not enough business with me but now through the book I am making a connection between the two.

Sounds simple enough, but it’s hard to distil creative notions and drive into a workable business format sometimes and probably vice versa. So if that is what you are struggling with, this wee book is awesome for balancing out the creative versus business see-saw.

Some super awesome points I grabbed were:

Attitudes-

“People who lack confidence tend to stick to the same routines and follow the same patterns as this brings feelings of safety and security.”

Fear of redundancies, lost jobs, downsizing and economic uncertainty stifles creativity, pits people against each other and gives rise to naked hostilities.

High demands with low control factors create the most stress.

Believing you don’t have a choice limits what you can actually create and achieve.

 

Failure-

“It is critical to recognise the importance of failing early and often in order to test and refine a product.”

Consider the impact of failing and do it in such a way as to minimise damage. Don’t stigmatise failure, learn from it.

 

Creativity-

“The most successful people are often not the most talented but the ones who are impelled by innate curiosity.”

You need to accept what is new, surprising and challenging to have a chance at ‘luck’.

Money and bonuses are not the motivators for creative people. They want challenges, self worth and a sense of achievement.

 

Products-

When you stop looking at what everyone else does, you get to do what you want.

Always remember to walk back from the trenches and look at what is possible.

When you have experience you lose innocence. Being “an expert” robs you of the ability to look at things with fresh, big picture eyes.

If you can’t change the system flow, at least try and change the impact it has. Look at the cycles so you can speed up the process people go through to engage with the product.

 

All of this seems fairly straight up when put in black and white, but how many of us actually take the time to navel gaze and gain a different perspective when looking at marketing, product management or working on a startup?

You can rent my copy of Who Killed Creativity on Open Shed – let me know what you get out of it.

At last count, I had half a dozen blog posts, 3 solid ideas for offerings and a new way to tackle 2 problems. Highly recommended!

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