Curiosity drives creativity

Curiosity drives creativity

We live in an exciting, creative world, a world where the internet and social media have made everything easily accessible and ideas are no exception – they’re our most valuable currency and anyone can have them.

Whilst it’s become easier to have a voice online, it's now harder than ever to be heard. Attention spans are dwindling due to digitisation, the average person today has an attention span of just eight seconds, that’s one second less than a goldfish. A GOLDFISH! It's therefore now more important than ever that creative ideas are cultivated in order to gain cut through and impact with audiences.

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Oliviero Toscani is the mastermind behind the infamous United Colors of Benetton ads of the 80s and 90s. This was part of a campaign to raise awareness of HIV during the 1992 Olympic games.

If you are so sure when you've got an idea, that your idea is an idea, then you haven't got an idea at all.

Oliviero Toscani, Art Director

These are the wise, albeit cryptic, words of Oliviero Toscani talking at a recent D&AD lecture. When I first heard this, one coffee-fuelled morning on a project, I felt confused; this was one of the greatest creatives of all time, saying that ideas, are not really ideas at all.
 
I soon began to understand its meaning. Ideas are not simply thought up out of nowhere. They’re imagined through inspiration, experience and evidence. Your brain is the powerful tool that connects these experiences and insights and turns them into something new: a smile from a stranger, the sound of the train on your commute, a taste that triggers a memory, a feeling as you listen to a piece of music or look at a piece of art. All these creative ideas are routed in insight and everyday experiences allowing them to connect on a human level with consumers.

The world’s best creatives are constantly curious in order to generate ideas that have longevity.
Ideas are new combinations, connections between specific knowledge about a subject and general knowledge of life experiences. For many of us, curiosity is a muscle we have forgotten to train. But, good news, anyone can have a great idea and you can learn techniques to help you foster them. Here are some tips to help the all-important ideation process.
 
1. Turn off, look up

The internet is a fantastic tool for inspiration, but often it’s the thing we turn to first. Looking at the world through our screens can never replace the value of personal experience, so don't be afraid to turn it off, get out there and get gathering. We’re in this game because we have an insatiable appetite to question the world around us and make it better. So, carry a small notebook with you, get your camera at the ready, and record everything that inspires you. It’s a process that never really ends, but rewards you time and time again. The more inspiration you have the easier it will be for your brain to make connections and help you come up with that killer idea.

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Want to peer inside the heads of our design team? Look no further than their notebooks, there’s still no better way to get down an idea than good ol’ fashioned pen and paper.

2. Move over Sherlock

When working on a case, detectives collect all the evidence and look for connections. When working on a brief, our process should be no different. Gather as much information as you can and get it up on a wall, a table, the floor, anywhere. Get it all in one place and organise it. This will form the foundations for connections to be made and ideas to be formed.

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Having somewhere to stick up your thoughts and findings is a great way to see connections and spark ideas.

3. Kill the ‘brainstorm’

Having other people involved at the early stages of a project can help bring a whole new set of perspectives to the table. But be wary of having too many people in the room or else you will be in danger of getting drowned in discussion, the likes of which kill great ideas. Ideas are delicate in their early form, make sure you nurture them.
 
4. Read widely, think broadly

Reading is still one of the best ways of gathering ideas and inspiration. It doesn’t matter if you’re reading from a device or the good old fashioned way, just read as much as you can as often as you can. If you’re interested in learning more about curiosity and creative thinking here are a few good reads to get you started: A Technique for Producing Ideas by James Webb Young; Damn Good advice (For People with Talent!) by George Lois; and The Art of Creative Thinking by Rod Judkins.

As human beings we’re all innately curious, and as creatives we must use that curiosity to inspire us. Only by being curious can we find the all-important spark that turns the embers of a thought into the flames of an idea. So, keep your eyes peeled.

Contributors

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Joseph Sereni

Senior Designer

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