What is Creativity?: Generating ideas
It’s a funny thing being a creative marketing and communications agency: our clients hire us for our ideas. As fun as it is to be creative, it can be a lot of pressure to know that the bills only get paid when the ideas are good. After all, creativity flows most freely when the livin’ is easy! So, how do we keep the creative juices flowing despite the challenge of having to be creative on demand?
First and foremost, we have a proven formula for successful brainstorming. By carefully following our proprietary techniques and guidelines, we’ve been able to produce creative ideas even when we’re “under the gun.”
But generating creative ideas starts well before a brainstorming session and it continues well after. True and sustained creativity is a question of culture and a collective state of mind. And no, it cannot just be “turned on.”
At MKP, we take great pride in being an open-minded team and having fun. And we actually enjoy working together! In between tasks related to our serious work, our Employee Engagement group hosts stimulating activities like Show and Tell, Surprise of the Month, Team Lunches, and Whiskey Wednesdays tastings after business hours. A relaxed environment where employees can be themselves means that when it comes time to work—and more importantly—to think, we all feel comfortable, charged, and ready to innovate.
Fostering creativity is also a function of confidence, experience, and know-how. For 25 years, we’ve been honing our abilities within our sweet spot of financial services marketing and communications. We know what works, and what doesn’t, and we have a visceral understanding of what resonates with customers and what they need to know. We bring a track record of achievement with us to the table every time we take on a new project. It provides the fuel we need to continue to formulate ideas and discover new possibilities.
Another requisite element when it comes to building a culture of creativity is curiosity. Finding ways to instill in your employees a love of learning and a desire for professional development and growth can be challenging, but it is imperative to creating a lasting culture of collaborative, creative thinking. When colleagues have opportunities to pursue their work-related passions and healthy ways to challenge one another and share knowledge, the results can be astounding—and not only in terms of building a creative culture, but also for your bottom line. If you’re in a creative business like ours, yes, ideas themselves are valuable, but so is employee longevity: whatever industry you’re in, happy employees don’t jump ship.
Lastly, creativity is risky business! It’s nearly impossible for a team that dwells exclusively in its “safe zone” to emerge with original ideas. Ask “what if…,” push the envelope, and consciously try something you’ve never tried before. Not all your ideas will be winners, but, sometimes, with great risks come great rewards.
Creativity is squishy and amorphous. It’s hard to define and harder to generate. Still, take a page from our playbook. Brainstorm effectively, have fun, provoke collaboration, engender curiosity, prioritize learning, and take risks! Your team will have creative results to show for it.
MKP communications inc. is a New York City-based communications company that delivers spot-on strategy, smart, fresh creative, and flawless execution, exclusively for financial services clients.