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Light a Creative Fuse

Steve Schmieder | Jan. 01, 2014

Getting to better. Welcome to the first installment of getting to better from your friends at Blue Flame Thinking. In our never-ending pursuit to help our clients challenge their brand, their industry and themselves, we look forward to sharing ideas and solutions that help all of us get closer to the ultimate goal to find your better.

 

Light a creative fuse. Whether you’re leading a marketing department or a marketing agency, you’ve surrounded yourself with inquisitive and highly imaginative people. The challenge is how to inspire, encourage and lead them to find their better—all while helping your brand partners find theirs.

At Blue Flame Thinking, we believe an inventive and productive environment is not about putting out fires; it’s about building a culture dedicated to setting off creative fireworks. Here are some actionable ideas to help you get the spark started:

 

Free yourself. Take Albert Einstein’s advice when he said, At least once a day, allow yourself the freedom to think and dream for yourself.” Exercise the creative parts of your brain without being under pressure to produce something.

Whether between meetings or on your way to work, let your mind run free to think about whatever makes you happy and feeds your creative spirit—winning the lottery, taking a dream trip, helping others. Don’t restrict creative thinking time to brainstorm sessions. Set aside some “Einstein Time” and allow yourself to dream.

 

Have fun. Play nice. Put a sense of humor and play into the mix. It’s a great way to break down barriers, open up communication, turn negativity into optimism and make work feel more like play.

Lighten up presentations by injecting levity and humor. Surprise your colleagues with games, role-playing and even short quizzes to get people in the right frame of mind. Bring Play-Doh or Silly Putty to your next meeting and see what transpires. It’s all about creating an open atmosphere of joy, wonder and uninhibited discovery.

 

Draw them a picture. We’re all aware of the power of visuals. In our business, complex products and concepts are made understandable and approachable with charts, diagrams, animations and infographics that tell a story with imagery. The eye comprehends faster and better than the ear, so paint a picture to bring your thinking to life.

 

Talk shop. When you love what you do, you love talking about your work, sharing ideas with others and learning from experts. “Shop talk” is tapping into someone else’s affinity for what they do. Ask your high-level clients and colleagues to join an advisory board or attend a conference where they can share what’s happening in their “shops.” Or give them the opportunity to rub shoulders with industry stars. The insights you gain will become more strategic than anecdotal, so they’re more likely to shape planning, messaging, campaigns and even product development.

Another opportunity to talk shop is the periodic business review. Some companies have turned their annual review into highly anticipated, even spectacular, events. Look at Berkshire Hathaway’s “Oracle in Omaha” or any new product introduction from Apple. They take talking shop to a whole new level of engagement.

 

Join a movement…or start one. Participating and giving back to a meaningful cause always feels good. It’s also inspirational, aspirational, fulfilling, diversionary, hopeful…in short, all the ingredients you need to spark creativity. It’s a great chance to share a positive experience with others in a non-sales setting.

Ask clients or colleagues to be partners or even leaders of movements that inspire them: charitable organizations, lifestyle or health-related initiatives, events that benefit foundations, educational programs or something that helps the disadvantaged. Blue Flame Thinking has an annual holiday tradition of going into the community to perform Random Acts of Kindness. It always has a profound way of stimulating our brains by warming our hearts.

We’re always working to find our better, both internally and with our brand partners. We’d love to hear your thoughts and ways you find your better.

Steve Schmieder

Steve Schmieder

Steve continually calls upon his 30 years of marketing expertise to help clients and their brands get to a better place.