Skip to main content

Handbook for left brainers.

I was invited this week to speak to a group of marketing executives at Kimpton Hotels about how to become a more creative thinker.

If you're familiar with Kimpton, then you know the company is creative to its core.  Michael Depatie, Kimpton's CEO, exhorts employees to "celebrate the tries, even if they don't work."  Niki Leondakis, Kimpton's President, supports a culture of creativity by saying "if you're not willing to laugh at yourself and be silly, then we're probably not the company for you."

Clearly I was not there to inspire Kimpton to be creative, but rather to provide a framework and useful tools to help teams create bigger ideas more frequently.

To me, creativity is not a fluffy art, it is counter-intuitive problem solving.  The first step is to recognize and avoid the top three creativity killers:  (1) We accept assumptions and solve the wrong problem; (2) We know what we know and narrow the scope of our thinking to ideas that are familiar (perceptual narrowing); (3) We lock down too soon and don't pursue multiple solutions (divergent thinking).

My framework for creative problem-solving follows four steps:

  1. Define:  Create a ruthlessly well-honed statement of the problem – challenge assumptions; be specific about what you want to achieve.
  2. Know:  Gather new and relevant information to disrupt preconceptions.
  3. Collaborate: Remember that ideas get bigger when they result from the collision of disparate perspectives, experiences and people.
  4. Invert: Consider the problem from a radically different perspective to disrupt familiar mental routines and get to new and innovative solutions.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

What makes a premium brand premium?

I was thinking the other day about the DNA of premium brands . One thing is certain -- it's a relative idea. For example, Hyatt is not a premium brand if you're used to staying at a W or a Ritz Carlton. But if your vacations to date have been holed up in a Holiday Inn, then by all means a stay in a Hyatt is a premium experience. Another thing is certain -- a brand is considered premium only when we believe it is worth the price. And that's where we can dig deeper. Why are we willing to pay more for a product when there are others that provide the same service or function at a lesser price? I have spent a good part of my marketing career developing strategies and ideas for a wide range of  premium brands, including American Express, Sony, Callaway Golf, Hilton, Jaguar, Land Rover – even the Toyota Prius.  Through these experiences I have come to believe that a premium brand is built upon specific tangible and intangible attributes that give it a sense wort

Zen and the art of an EV roadtrip.

I remember the anxiety I had when I cut the cord and switched from Cable TV to streaming.   Could I still watch live sports? Would I get all my favorite programs? Sure enough, with YouTube TV, the answer was a resounding yes to both questions.   Now I’m cutting a new cord — the gas pump — as I take my new Mustang Mach-E on a cross-country trip.   And like the time I cut Cable TV, I'm experiencing the same questions.  Will it have the range for a long drive?  Will I waste hours recharging along the way? Well, today is Day 1 on the Mach-E's first ever long distance drive , as we say farewell to Detroit and head to La Quinta.   For those of you thinking about buying an EV, I’ll be sharing daily posts to help alleviate so-called “range anxiety.”   (Trust me, in pressing the start button this morning, I’m taking a big trust-fall to shed the comfy muscle memory of ICE vehicles.) Today’s cool feature:   The FordPass app which plans the route and most efficient charge points, then send

Super game. Dull ads

As a passionate Giants fan it is safe to say that I had a good time yesterday. But as an advertising professional I felt a bit underwhelmed by the caliber of the advertising . Many were entertaining. But few possessed that intangible Super Bowl-ness...big, pop-cultural, fun. Even fewer seemed to have anything relevant to say about the brand, such as the Planters "uni-brow" spot. I loved the Bridgestone "screaming animals" spot, but it would have been a much better spot for the Saab featured in the spot than the tires the car rode upon. As for Bud, good spots, but I've seen the dog and horse thing before. Tide's talking stain was funny, but did it have Super Bowl-ness? My fav? The Coke "balloon float" spot. It was classic Coke (for Coke Classic). Big. Entertaining. Unexpected twist. Utterly charming. And Charlie Brown finally won something. Coke is about smiles. And that spot was just that. The Audi spot that I wrote about last week