How Hulk Hogan, Neo and the Care Bears can help creativity in the workplace
Last week I was asked to suggest some tips for holding a good brainstorm. This quickly broadened into what creativity is in the workplace and before I knew it there were ideas forming around Hulk Hogan, Neo and a Care Bear.
So, in the name of brevity, I have tried to distil my ideas into a relatively succinct blog post. You can judge the success of this attempt. It still involves Hulk Hogan, Neo and Care Bear.
You can’t talk about brainstorming without talking about general office creativity and how to encourage, inspire and develop it.This is one of the things that makes working in an agency so rewarding; the cross-pollination of ideas, the swapping of skills and experiences and using each other’s talents to create ideas and strategies that are better than the ones we have on our own.
Below I’ve listed a few tips, attitudes and general ramblings to help creativity to flow a bit more easily. I’ve also (slightly spuriously) attached them to cultural icons to:
a) Make this post more interesting
b) To make the points a bit more memorable
1. BE LIKE HULK HOGAN
Don’t start trying to throw flying elbows at people; that’s anti-social.No need for bandanas either, but one asset that Hulk Hogan does have in abundance is confidence. It’s common knowledge now that people can be taught to be creative; it’s a methodology as well as a mind-set. Tests have shown that people can do better in interviews after pulling power poses in the loo beforehand. Confidence breeds confidence. If you are already confident, encourage and help those in your brainstorms to be confident through support and encouragement. If you lack confidence, remember, a brainstorm is just a conversation and your colleagues are (should be) on your side.
2. BE LIKE BRUCE LEE
A lot of people think that Bruce Lee was a Kung-Fu expert. He wasn’t. Ok, he was, but that was only one of the things he was an expert at. He formed his own martial art that was an amalgam of lots of different styles he’d studied through his life. Is my point to learn martial arts? Not really. It’s to take an interest in other people’s jobs, skills and interests. The more you know about what your colleagues do, whether that be PR, social media, graphic design, web building, user experience etc etc the more rounded you’ll be as an employee, the more valuable you’ll be to your employer and the better you’ll be at increasing the creative output of your company.
3. BE LIKE NEO
What happened in the subway at the end of The Matrix? Neo did a pretty good job of doing some gravity defying back-flips but he eventually got roughed-up by Agent Smith. Why? Because he didn’t fully understand the rules of the Matrix yet.
It’s very easy for creative teams to get carried away brainstorming but completely neglect what the initial brief was. Make sure you’ve nailed the brief before you get carried away with the earth-shattering, bullet-stopping, multi-smith fighting ideas you’re all capable of. Find the balance between letting creative ideas flow freely and remembering the key goals at hand.
4. BE LIKE A CARE BEAR.
I find care bears creepy. But one thing they’re very good at is sharing. I don’t mean virtual sharing, I mean real-world sharing. This, perhaps above all-else, is one of the most important things you can do in the work-place whether it’s in a brainstorm, team meeting or otherwise. Be generous with your thoughts and ideas and don’t try to cling onto ideas as if they were something to be protected. I don’t remember an idea, strategy or concept that hasn’t been improved by a second or third party’s input. Support others in their ideas and offer your opinions and experience to make even better, super Mecha-Godzilla ideas that are even taller and stronger than those that came before.
So, to summarise:
– Be confident and assertive
– Take an interest in other people’s jobs, skills and expertise
– Make sure you understand the brief and keep the goals in mind
– Share thoughts and ideas with others to make them even better
These ideas to improve brainstorming are by no means exhaustive. Creativity in the workplace and improving the brainstorm process won’t happen by itself, it needs to be encouraged and supported at every level of a business. People with the most experience at producing creative work (often confused for those who are most creative), should be accessible to all members of an organisation at every level and with a bit of confidence, brief-reading, sharing and interest in your colleagues, you should see a marked improvement in your creative process.
And if all this doesn’t work, blame the creepy bear.