Clogging the Creative Process With Fear



When faced with a new creative challenge, new product development or even a brand refresh, many people clog their own process with fear-based thinking. They start with “what is safe” and “let’s not go too overboard” and usually end up with “the same old thing.”

Going out on a limb is never an easy step to take, but it’s actually much safer than being like every other company around you.

Every business has competition, even if it’s not exactly like what they do — there is always some other thing that is vying for attention. To be successful in a market, or successful in your project, start by removing all filters and expectations. Don’t list out the “pros” and the “cons.” Don’t gather together safe thinkers to the meeting.

To truly be unique in a market, you need to start by actually being unique. World-class swimmers don’t get that way by sticking a toe in the water. They dive in and don’t look back. They only notice the competition when they are next to them, so they know when to really pour it on to gain more distance.

I have been involved in many creative sessions over the years. Some are incredibly productive, and it’s amazing to see the big ideas that can emerge through creative thinking and problem solving.

I have also seen train wreck meetings that actually take the process back a step. The difference is removing the filter that says “that is impossible” or “nobody in our business does that” or “we have to be careful.” Those thoughts are like plaque in the veins of the creative process, and eventually they cause creative arrest.

With the saturation of marketing messaging in the world today and the multiple sources of conversation, information and devices constantly trying to gain our attention, is it a safe direction to be more white noise?

Big thinking leads to big ideas. It really can be that simple.

This post is co-authored by Identity’s VP of Creative, Brent Eastman.