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More Ideation, Less Stagnation

You know that distinct aroma you experience when you walk in the gym? The potpourri of sweat, perfume, chlorine and testosterone? Together this scent identifies a space where certain activities take place. If you walk into our office, it smells like appetizing food, oxygen, coffee and a hint of Sharpie. This is, in my experience, the scent of ideation.

The food nourishes our brains, the oxygen heightens our senses, coffee is the performance enhancement drug and Sharpies keep track of the ideas. Ideation is a process of freeing your mind from existing structures to allow a view you’ve not seen before. It generally requires a certain vulnerability and therefore a safe space for everyone.

The scent of ideation is our perfume.

As you might imagine, a lot of ideation happens inside Capsule. So, when we look around at the challenges our clients face, we can’t wait to get pulled into the conversation. Just give us a chance to show how a great idea can be discovered, refined, polished and put out into the world. We can’t help starting, even when we should wait for contracts, lawyers and other punctuators to finish their work.

While our contracts start when they’re signed, our ideating minds start when we see the clearly articulated problem. Some in our creative community chose to give those early ideas away in the form of spec work in the hopes of something larger coming later, but we’re inclined to do what’s best for our clients and our team. Giving away ideas, like anything, devalues them to the recipient. And, devalues the giver as well. Which is likely the deeper psychological reason why people who give their ideas away need the chainmail armor of a large ego to protect themselves.

Once you’re comfortable in your own skin, the battlefield of ideas doesn’t require armor, but rather a disarming smile and disposition. When you’re forced, as a human being, to give away “your” idea for the potential to be paid, it devalues you as a person. And, then it wounds you again when the idea doesn’t get chosen. It’s no wonder the advertising dinos are walking around under the weight of a scaly suit of armour.

If you’re going to embrace a design thinking approach to your business, empathy for the human being is the essential first step into the pool. This doesn’t mean every kid gets a metal at the end of the soccer match. Great ideas rise to the top because they get talked about, negatively and positively. The emotional engagement happening in the room on both ends of the spectrum mirrors what will happen in the larger world.

Here’s an example for a line of socks we coined as, “Shucking Awesome” by Fox River Socks. They were made from corn starch, so we’ve got the "shuckingcc' part covered. The team needed something to get attention at a tradeshow, with retailers and customers of this new frontier in sock making. On the conference call presentation of ideas, we could hear people in the background telling their co-workers to “shuck-off” and “go shuck yourself,” essentially adding to the idea in the same way a trade show audience eventually would in a few weeks. The result was a highly successful launch of a new line of socks and a brand being seen in a new refreshing light by their audiences.

If you’re part of the ideation team, it is your job to spark others and come up with ideas that move people. If you’re part of the evaluation team, it's your job to read the emotion attached to ideas and make choices based on the volume of emotion, not the most favored. And, then selling the idea into the organization by revealing what the idea can do for everyone; essentially giving them a glimpse of the future you see.

Let’s have more “Shucking Awesome” ideation sessions together.

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Categories Design Thinking

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