Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Sticky Ideas and Systematic Creativity

" Picture in your mind the type of person who's great at coming up with ideas. Have a mental image of the person? A lot of people, when asked to do this, describe a familiar stereotype - the 'creative genius", the kind of person who thinks up slogans in a hot advertising agency. Maybe, like us, [that's Chip and Dan Heath - the authors of the book I'm quoting from] you picture someone with gelled hair and hip clothing, carrying a dog-eared notebook full of ironies and epiphanies, ready to drop everything and launch a four-hour brainstorming session in a room full of caffeine and whiteboards. Or maybe your stereotype isn't quite so elaborate. There's no question that some people are more creative than others. Perhaps they're just born that way. So maybe you'll never be the Michael Jordan of sticky ideas.
But the premise of this book is that creating sticky ideas is something that can be learned."
They - thats Chip and Dan in the photo - give an example of 3 groups of novices brought together to make advertisements - one group was given background information on products and produced ads, the second used brainstorming and the third used six 'creative' templates. Each group got a couple of hours training. You guessed it - the ones that used the templates to produce ads were rated as 50% more creative than the others and produced a 55% more positive attitude towards the products advertised.

Maybe there are systematic ways to produce creative ideas!

They go on to identify the six principles - supported with compelling examples - that can make ideas stick:

  • simple
  • unexpected
  • concrete
  • credible
  • emotional
  • stories

You might also want to check out their web-site - www.madetostick.com - they have some cool free stuff especially if you want to apply the principles of 'sticky messages' to your next presentation or teaching session.

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