ACT I, SCENE I: The “Creative Sanetist” who got abused
Task at Hand: Conducting a workshop on “Creative Thinking” @Text100
Mumbai. It was stimulating to witness a group of 20 odd enthusiastic Texties park themselves in the conference room, but probably wondering why this man chose such an esoteric topic. That many among them were relatively newer additions to the Text family was more refreshing, coz I believe that fresh ideas come from fresh minds. So there, I wore my lecturer’s hat and embarked on an intellectual mission to make the world a more creative place. I summarize what transpired next in a conversation format. Some excerpts**:
CreatiWITTY professor: So friends, what’s creativity acc to you? And can you contextualize it in the context of PR?
Enthu Textie #1: It is about doing new things. E.g. launching a product differently
CreatiWITTY professor: Cool. So if I launch a new cola drink through a unique song and dance extravaganza, is that being creative?
Enthu Textie #2 (beaming with confidence) : Of course.
CreatiWITTY professor: And what is there is no coverage the next day?
(murmurs across the room): “Hmmmm”. “Ya, may be not that creative then”.
CreatiWITTY professor: Moral #1 – Creativity is about leveraging innovative means, tools or techniques that help achieve a predefined objective or map onto your clients’ biz / marketing goals.
(forced nods across the room, probably as a mark of respect for my stubble): “You are right”. “Makes sense”.
CreatiWITTY professor: Now tell me, your client, a large multinational firm, is undergoing a major image overhaul and asks us for creative ideas. Any thoughts?
Enthu Textie #3 : A large press conference in an even larger 5 star banquet in South Mumbai. Alternatively, back to back interviews.
CreatiWITTY professor: How about organizing a 2 day off site with the media, creatively designed as an experiential tool, more engaging, conversational, thematic and all messages delivered in theatrical style by the spokespersons themselves? Does this sound creative?
Enthu Textie #4 : Wow, sounds good. But how could we have thought of something like this? never heard before.
Enthu Textie #5 : Sir, I don’t think it is creative. It is nothing new. Attempted before by companies.
CreatiWITTY professor: Moral #2 – Creativity is about contextualizing. It is usually defined by our personal experiences, or the lack of it.
(muted snarls all around, but again, respect for the stubble). “Correct”. “Right, agree Ashish”.
CreatiWITTY professor: So what prevents us from being creative?
Enthu Textie #6 : BUDGETS.
CreatiWITTY professor: How much does it cost to create an innovative media familiarization mail that captures the essence of your client, and excites them to know more? What are the damages for studying international trends, contextualizing it for India and approaching a journo with a killer pitch note? I bet it’s super expensive to dream of a cover story for a client by scanning the ecosystem, brainstorming with team about the core story theme, suggesting non competing players and pitching it to the journo? Securing an opinion article or industry story opp for a CEO basis your ability to create a thought leadership proposition can make you bankrupt right? Social media is the costliest tool to have hit mankind… mapping audience behavior, creating social media releases, studying Google trends to capture key words in all client communication, participating in LinkedIn discussions to provide a point of view expressed in a blog, leave us as wretched paupers????????
(if looks could kill, I died at least 15 deaths post my smart @#$ comment). “True that”. “Nothing it costs, all about thinking smartly”. (thank you grey hair in the stubble).
CreatiWITTY professor: Moral #3 – Creativity knows no boundaries. It is not a slave to budget constraints, nor is it limited by your sun sign or the locality you were born in. Creativity is about knowledge… about insights… about passion.. about inquisitiveness and curiosity… about questioning the obvious… about wanting to push your own intellectual limits.
(you over smart #$%^^%@, #$%%@#$%, ^@#$%%. Though in bated breath, the expletives echoed in my ears like a throbbing saxophone ).
ACT I, SCENE II: The mega creativity challenge
And putting an end to the misery of my fellow Texties, we moved onto some really crazy and fun activity. Each individual was challenged to a “creativity test” with a unique client problem (hypothetical of course). “Unleash your creativity” was the only rule of the game. Each Textie was given 10 mins to come up with a game changing idea that would help the client achieve its goal. some examples…
- Launch a sandalwood perfumed hand sanitizer in the rural market
- Elevate profile of Santa Clause in an age of technology invasion
- A rural outreach programe to educate villagers about Tablets
- An education campaign for a sweat absorbing footwear device
- Launch of a Yoga channel through a social media campaign
- Manage a crisis for the Tea Board as reports of “tea drinking increasing fertility” cause a national stir
At the end of the session, I had the last laugh – literally and figuratively. Literally, because the creativity (of solutions proposed) exuded by every participant in that room – Neha, Prateek, Anshul, Firdos, Vidhi, Manav, Rebecca, Sanskruti, Nandini, Priya, Ravindra, Anish, Pallavi, Lohit, Manish – was mind bogging-ly creative, humorous and original. Figuratively, because it was successfully proven that Creativity knows no designations, budgets or time constraints.
Moral #4 – The future of Text 100 India’s creative PR renditions is in amazing hands.
The author is a Principal stooge (aka Consultant) & a digital student @ Text 100 India.
Picture courtesy: http://bit.ly/IYHeQt